Police launch new Fenland service to report hate crimes

A NEW service for victims and witnesses of hate crimes has been launched in Fenland by Cambridgeshire Police.

Open Out is a confidential service for people to report hate crimes, when someone is targeted because of their race, faith, gender or disability, and get support and advice.

Karolina Bober, Huntingdonshire Open Out co-ordinator, said: “Hate crime can often have a devastating effect on victims, leaving them feeling isolated and sometimes too embarrassed to talk to anyone.

“The Open Out scheme offers victims confidential support and advice. There is no pressure to report the incident to police, however this is an option and the Open Out co-ordinator can support victims through the process.

“Research suggests that as many as 95% of hate crimes go unreported. This can be because the victim doesn’t feel comfortable reporting the crime or may not realise it’s a crime.

“I would urge anyone who thinks they have been a victim of a hate crime to report it to police or call the confidential Open Out service.”

Molly Blackburn, from Open Out, said: “The Open Out scheme has been operating in Cambridge since 2001 and we have successfully managed to assist a number of victims.

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“For some victims that original call to Open Out has now resolved the situation, or led them to getting support from counselling services and assistance with moving through the housing association.”

Superintendent Gary Ridgway said: “The force takes all reports of hate crime extremely seriously and we want people to report all incidents.

“All forms of hate crimes are completely unacceptable and we will deal robustly with offenders.

“Victims of hate crime can often feel isolated and may not want to talk to the police in the first instance, but still want to report incidents which the Open Out scheme allows.”

To report a hate crime to Open Out call 01223 823 552, visit www.openoutcambs.org or to the police online at www.cambs.police.uk

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