Baby injured after racial assault as hate crimes against children rise in Cambridgeshire
- Credit: Archant
A one-year-old-boy was racially assaulted as recorded race hate crimes against children in Cambridgeshire rose by 55 per cent over the last three years.
An NSPCC investigation has found there were 85 offences flagged by Cambridgeshire Police as race hate crimes against children in 2017/18, up from 55 in 2015/16.
Victims in Cambridgeshire included a one-year-old boy who suffered racially or religiously aggravated assault with injury and a six-year-old girl who was injured following an assault.
Across the UK there were 10,571 offences in 2017/18, an average of almost 29 a day. This was a rise by more than a fifth since 2015/16, up from 8,683.
The NSPCC's Freedom of Information request to police forces has shown that toddlers and babies yet to reach their first birthday were amongst the victims of race hate crimes.
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Children have also told the NSPCC-run service Childline they were being targeted because of the way they looked, and reported being told to "go back to their own country".
Some tried to change their appearance by using make up, while others said they did not want to tell their parents for fear of upsetting them.
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Childline held 2,617 counselling sessions about race and faith based bullying between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
Girls were more likely to speak to Childline than boys, and the most common age group to get in touch about the issue was children aged 12-15.
One girl, ten, said: "I've been bullied ever since I started school. The bullies call me nasty names; it makes me feel so ashamed.
"I was born in the UK but bullies tell me to go back to my own country. I don't understand because I'm from the UK."
Childline counsellor, Atiyah Wazir, said: "Over the eight years that I've volunteered as a counsellor it is just as heart-breaking every single time a child tells you they wish they looked different.
"I want every child to know that this bullying is not ok, they have nothing to be ashamed of, and Childline is always here to listen."
Head of Childline, John Cameron, said: "Childhood bullying of this nature can cause long term emotional harm to children and can create further divisions in our society."