Multi agency partners have launched the ‘Hate Free Highland’ website which aims to generate awareness of prejudice and discrimination and encourage more people to report these hate incidents via the online reporting system.
The online reporting system and awareness raising campaign that is supported by Northern Constabulary, The Highland Council, NHS Highland and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, was officially launched at Merkinch Community Centre and saw partners talking of the impact of hate incidents and crimes and ways in which to report them.
Hate incidents are defined as any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim, or any person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate towards them and an identifiable group of people.
These incidents can be any form of abuse or harassment on the grounds of a person’s religion or belief, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, race or ethnic origin, social background or age.
Strategic Diversity Advisor for Northern Constabulary, Lisa Buchanan said: “Encouraging people to come forward and report hate incidents is crucial to the success of the online reporting system. We hope that communities will become more aware of Hate Free Highland and will feel more confident about reporting any kind of hate incident they experience or witness. I think our slogan says it all, ‘Don’t ignore it, please report it’.”
Ray Stewart, Employee Director at NHS Highland, said: “Experiencing discrimination and prejudice is shown to have significant negative effects on a person’s health, so standing up to prejudice will have real benefits for our communities.”
Equal Opportunities spokesperson for The Highland Council, Cllr Carolyn Wilson said: “This has been a good example of agencies working together. It sends out important messages that such incidents should not be tolerated, and that those affected by incidents of prejudice or hatred will have their concerns taken seriously.”
The campaign will travel across the Highlands over the coming months to raise awareness and encourage victims to seek advice and support.
The website contains more detailed information and ways to report such incidents online and can be viewed at www.hatefreehighland.org.