Plus Dane tenants speak out for Hate Crime Awareness Week

10.10.2016

A couple who have suffered homophobic attacks are supporting their landlord’s plea to encourage people to speak out if they are the victims of prejudice as part of Hate Crime Awareness week (8th to 15th October).

Plus Dane Housing - which owns and manages more than 18,000 homes across Merseyside and Cheshire - is supporting this year’s national campaign to raise awareness about hate crime and is urging communities to respect each other’s’ differences.

The housing association takes a tough approach towards hate crime to ensure people feel safe in their homes and has recently supported two tenants during a traumatic period of homophobic abuse.

The men, who wish to remain anonymous, have suffered abuse for years because of their sexuality, including a violent assault which left them hospitalised for three weeks.

The attack resulted in them having to move to a different area, when they became Plus Dane Housing tenants.

John (whose name has been changed to protect his identify), said: “We still get abuse off gangs who live nearby, which shouldn’t be like that in this day and age. Luckily we have the continued support of Plus Dane’s Community Safety Team who have done so much to help us. They have increased security in our home and they always provide a good listening ear, support us and encourage us to report things straight away.”

Mike (whose name has also been changed), added: “I just want people who may be experiencing hate crime not to suffer in silence. The more you keep it to yourself the worse it will get. Please speak up because there’s help out there, you just need to ask for it.”

The pair hope that telling their story will encourage victims, or anyone who knows or suspects incidents of such crime, to report it.

Community Safety Manager Nicola Andrews said:

“We are committed to the elimination of hate crimes. We always take a ‘victim centred’ approach when responding to cases and work in partnership with the police and other relevant agencies to tackle the issue.

“Lots of the cases we deal with, we actually find that there is a lack of understanding about what a hate crime is. For example, we are seeing more cases of incidents involving the travelling community and when we speak to the perpetrators involved they don’t realise that what they are saying can be perceived as being racially aggravated. We will always act swiftly; and sometimes mediation between our tenants can resolve issues before they escalate. However, we will take legal action and evict if necessary because we recognise the impact of hate crime on neighbourhoods.

“We would encourage anyone who is being persecuted because of their race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or physical disability to report it to the police in the first instance, or speak to their housing officer in confidence.”

If you are a Plus Dane tenant suffering from hate crime, antisocial behaviour, domestic abuse, or harassment, find out more about how we can help on our website www.plusdane.co.uk/community-safety/reporting-incidents-to-us/

Stop Hate UK is one of the leading national organisations working to challenge all forms of discrimination, and provides confidential and accessible reporting and support for victims, witnesses and third parties. For more information visit www.stophateuk.org/