A joint collaboration between Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups, East Midlands Ambulance Services and Leicestershire Police is gathering pace through a multi-agency steering group established to examine ways to improve and strengthen the health system response in relation to hate crime.
Evidence is emerging that hate crime has both physical and mental health related impacts which require health service responses. Acknowledging the impact of hate crime on physical and mental health is an important element to understand all factors affecting the needs of the patient, pathways into services and the impact on the patient experience.
Health staff have the opportunity to support and empower victims to make the right decisions which may involve reporting a hate incident crime committed against a person.
The multi-agency collaboration is working towards establishing closer contact and engagement with local communities affected with hate crime including:
- map out current health approaches
- look at best practice in other communities
- build effective training and learning packages for improving staff understanding
- improve recording systems in participating Trusts
Hate crime incidents are when a person is targeted because they are seen to be different. This could be because of a disability, their race, religion or belief, their sexual orientation, or they are transgender or any other reason for example a member of an alternative sub culture. Hate crime can be verbal abuse, damage to property and or physical violence. It‘s an act of victimisation directed towards a person because of who they are. What this means is that an offender has chosen a victim specifically because of the type of person they are or are seen to be.
Raising awareness about hate incidents and the importance of reporting them is crucial, as it encourages individuals to come forward and report it whether they are the victim, witness or third person.
Dr Peter Miller, LPT Chief Executive said: "Recognising that healthcare is perhaps the most likely place that someone who has experienced a physical hate crime will go suggests that we should be more involved than we currently are. The first point of contact may be the start of years of interaction with healthcare providers and we need to be aware of the consequences hate crime has on people’s health and wellbeing."
Ket Chudasama, Assistant Head of Corporate Affairs-West Leicestershire CCG said:" Raising awareness of hate crime in all its forms it’s vitally important if we are to tackle it effectively. This joint initiative is a great step forward."
Mukesh Barot, Equality and Diversity Manager for East Midlands Ambulance Service said: "We are pleased to support an excellent partnership initiative on hate crime. It is really important that we all work together across all agencies to tackle this issue.
Deb Baker, Service Equality Manager from University Hospitals of Leicester, said: "This is an excellent stride forward to improve the level of support available to victims of hate crime."
Darren Goddard, Hate Crime Officer, from Leicestershire Police said: "We know that some victims of hate crimes prefer to speak to a healthcare professional first, rather than the police, therefore it’s important that our healthcare colleagues have awareness and understanding of hate crimes and incidents and the impact they can have.
"By working together we can ensure that help and support is available for victims of hate crime and give them the confidence to report the incident to the police."