On his recent appointment at DCLG, Maccabi GB Vice President Richard Benson OBE said - "Extremely honoured to have been appointed by Lord Bourne Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Faith at the Department for Communities and Local Government to Chair the Government’s newly established Challenging Hate Crime Support Group." Richard Benson OBE
DCLG Press Release
NEW SUPPORT GROUP TO HELP COMBAT HATE CRIME
A new group that will help grassroots organisations work together to combat hate crime was announced by the Government today (17 October)
Minister for Faith, Lord Bourne confirmed that the new Hate Crime Support Group will help grassroots hate crime prevention organisations to learn from leading charities and experts.
The announcement comes as the Minister visited the memorial to Stephen Lawrence in Eltham along with Stephen’s father, Neville Lawrence. Stephen was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993 and the subsequent enquiry into the handling of his case led to profound changes in the prosecution of the perpetrators of hate crimes.
The Challenging Hate Crime Support Group will bring together small grassroots organisations and established organisations to share knowledge and expertise. The group will allow them to develop vital skills such as fundraising and website development.
Minister for Faith Lord Bourne said:
“The Challenging Hate Crime Support Group will ensure that grassroots organisations have the tools and knowledge to combat hate crime.
“Groups such as this, the government’s Hate Crime Action Plan and initiatives such as Hate Crime Awareness Week demonstrate how Government, communities and local authorities are united in their determination to end hate crime.
“Let me be clear – hate crime has no place whatsoever in British society. All communities must be able to live their lives free from fear of verbal or physical attack.”
Chair of the Challenging Hate Crime Support Group Richard Benson OBE said:
“The Challenging Hate Crime Support Group will provide practical support to all those that work tirelessly to protect victims of hate crimes and I am proud to have been appointed as the group’s chair by Lord Bourne.
“Hatred and extremism cannot be tackled alone. Only through joint action, partnerships and desire to work together can we counter hate crime in our society.”
Dr Neville Lawrence OBE said:
“Twenty four years after the brutal racist murder of my son Stephen I am heartened to know that there is still huge attention being paid to hate crime today.
“The launch of the new Challenging Hate Crime Support Group is a very positive and bold step to encourage people to report all hate crimes. It shows there is still a strong commitment to tackle this terrible crime which is destroying community cohesion and causing division between communities.”
The Minister’s announcement of the support group coincides with the Hate Crime Awareness Week which encourages key partners and communities affected by hate crime to work together to address local hate crime issues. This year, the Government has supported Hate Crime Awareness Week with a £25,000 grant for its online campaign.
The campaign encourages public figures to take a photo of themselves at the location of a hate crime and upload it to social media alongside the hashtag #NHCAW. During their visit to Stephen’s memorial, both Lord Bourne and Neville Lawrence supported the online campaign by uploading a photo to social media of them commemorating Stephen at the site of his murder.
National Hate Crime Awareness Week (#NHCAW): the first National Hate Crime Awareness Week took place in October 2012. The main purpose of National Hate Crime Awareness Week is to raise awareness of hate crime by encouraging local authorities (local councils and police services), key partners and communities affected by hate crime to work together to address local hate crime issues. National Hate Crime Awareness Week is about spreading the message of H.O.P.E. across the UK.
H.O.P.E. stands for:
Hate crime awareness,
Operational response to hate crime,
Preventing hate crime, and
Empowering communities to report hate crime and access victim support services.