National Hate Crime Awareness Week (NHCAW) returns, taking place between 8-15 October, and Merton Council is marking it with a series of events.
NHCAW began with a vigil in London in 2009 to show solidarity against hate crime following the homophobic murder of Ian Bayhnam in Trafalgar Square, and this has grown into a national annual week of activity to remember victims and raise awareness of all forms of hate crime.
The theme for this year’s event is about preventing hate crime against people from South East Asian communities: Stop Hate UK recently launched a specific helpline for people reporting such hate crime called ‘On Your Side’.
There will be an hour-long, drop-in hate crime advice surgery on Tuesday 11 at noon in the Merton Link area of the Civic Centre, with some of our partner agencies such as Inner Strength Network and Merton Centre for Independent Living attending.
Safer Merton staff and partners will be leafleting businesses in Morden town centre on Wednesday 12, raising awareness and sharing information on the hate crime support services available in the borough.
On Thursday 13, there are limited spaces for a Bystander Training session, which will equip people with the tools of how to understand and deal with violence and hate crime in our communities: you can book for that online event here.
And on Friday 14, there is a coffee morning between 10am-noon at the Colliers Wood Community Centre supported by PFA, Safer Merton and Merton Police, as well as a hate crime information stall being run from 12.30pm at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Merton.
A poster competition is also running in Merton schools in partnership with Stop Hate UK to encourage students to raise awareness of hate crime and promote the Stop Hate UK helpline for Merton.
Councillor Eleanor Stringer, Cabinet Member for Civic Pride, said: “We are committed to tackling all forms of hate crime and will continue to uphold the message that Merton is a welcoming place for all where hate in any form is not tolerated.
“Hate Crime Awareness Week is an opportunity for all of us to remember victims and raise awareness of all forms of hate crime and provide ongoing support to those who need it.
“Merton is proud to be one of the safest boroughs in London and we will continue to work hard, together, to ensure that this position is maintained.”
The Stop Hate helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year on 0800 138 1625. The helpline is also available by text message on 07717 989 025 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is an immediate threat to life you should call 999