A series of street theatre performances are being used to encourage Worcester residents not to stay silent on hate crime.
There were 236 reports of hate crime incidents in Worcester in 2016/17. They included 176 reports of racial incidents, 27 reported incidents relating to sexual orientation, 16 relating to disability, seven relating to alternative lifestyle and 2 relating to religion or faith.
South Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership (SWCSP) has asked professional drama practitioner Zoe Haworth to stage the street theatre events as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week, which runs from 14 to 21 October 2017.
Performances will take place in Worcester outside Costa Coffee in City Walls Road in St Martins Quarter, Worcester on Saturday 14 October between 10.00am and 2.00pm.
Actors will interact with members of the public using mime and chalkboards to explore the various types of hate crime and the impact it has on victims.
Another part of the performances will involve monologues based on real life stories from people in the local area who have experienced hate crime and members of the public will then be encouraged to offer advice. Finally, performers will be asking ‘Where can I report a hate crime?’ as a way of raising awareness about the different reporting methods available.
Cllr Lynn Denham, Vice Chair of the Communities Committee at Worcester City Council said: “Worcester has got a good reputation as a tolerant city with strong relations between communities. Abuse is never acceptable, anywhere. I would urge everyone to have the courage to speak out against hatred and ignorance whenever and wherever they encounter it.”
Kevin Purcell, South Worcestershire Superintendent for West Mercia Police, said: “Nobody should have to tolerate hate crime because of who they are or where they come from and so it is important our communities have the confidence to come to police and report hate crimes or incidents. Tackling hate crime is a priority for us and we will act and investigate all reports.”
Hate crime is any criminal offence that is believed to have been carried out due to someone’s hostility towards a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, transgender or an individual characteristic that makes them appear different. It can include anything from physical attacks and damage to property to abusive telephone calls and anti-social behaviour.
It is hoped the street theatre performances will help people recognise what hate crime is and encourage them to tell police.
Across the UK three out of every five hate crime offences are never reported to police. That is because people either do not realise what they are suffering is actually a crime or they wrongly believe no action will be taken if they do report it.
People can report hate crime by calling police on 101, online at www.report-it.org.ukor at a police station. In an emergency always call 999.