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Positive Minds 'invaluable' reporting service for victims of hate crime

With hate crime reports rising in Hampshire, Solent Mind is here to offer support to victims of hate as we mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

With hate crime on the rise across Hampshire, and the rest of the country, this National Hate Crime Awareness week, Solent Mind is here to offer its support to those affected.

Hampshire Constabulary recorded a 45% increase in 2019-20 (1,804), the most recent numbers available, in comparison to the numbers reported in 2015-16 (1,244).

Solent Mind service Positive Minds offers Portsmouth residents an alternative place to report hate crimes without ever having to step into a police station. The service became a Third Party Reporting Centre earlier this year.

Anna Fiers, Positive Minds Team Lead, explained:

"We consider this new reporting service an excellent opportunity to provide our service users with a safe space to discuss, understand and/or report any hate crime they may have experienced.

“It is a simple process that aims to give the victim full control of how far they wish to take the report whilst receiving appropriate support from our service."

Olly, University of Southampton graduate and University of Portsmouth student, was a victim of hate crime in a Southampton club:

“I've had many experiences where people have treated me with varying levels of hate because I am visibly non-binary transgender, LGBTQ+ and disabled, but one particular incident has really stayed with me.

“A man barged past me and my partner at the time, another non-binary trans+ person, knocking us both backward. He then threw his entire drink at us - cup and all - which hit me in the face and sprayed alcohol into both of our eyes, before calling us both "disgusting" and expletives I couldn't hear.”

Olly explained how the incident affected his mental health, both short term and long term:

“Just before the attack I was sharing a kiss with my partner - I was in a real state of bliss, celebrating & enjoying time with friends. Having this happen to the both of us just snapped me out of that dream and back into reality.

“In the short term, this event left me feeling vulnerable, fearful and angry. However, the long-term effects were much more intense; I felt weak, extremely wary of others, and unsafe in spaces that were not predominantly LGBTQ-centred.”

Olly, who lives in Southampton has also expressed an increase in his own anxiety as hate crime incidents increase, but they believe that mental health services following in the footsteps of Positive Minds would be very beneficial.

“I think this is such a good idea which benefits not just victims in reporting crimes, but the police, as they prosecute offenders they would not have been aware of otherwise. Many victims of hate crimes may feel as though they cannot report incidents out of fear of discrimination, not being taken seriously, understood or being outed during the criminal justice process.”

“Therefore, having a way around this, that also involves a level of mental health support which is not provided by police services, would be invaluable to victims of hate crime.”

If you would like to find out more about reporting hate crime through Positive Minds, click here: https://www.solentmind.org.uk/...

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