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A criminal matter: Hate Crime Awareness week

As Hate Crime Awareness Week approaches, Jess Belmonte looks at the implications for physio staff.

Since the vote to leave the European Union last year, hate crime incidents in the UK have soared, in some regions by more than 100 per cent. 
 
Hate crime is defined as a criminal act that is directed at a person due to an aspect of their identity. This can be due to (but is not limited to) disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
 
The police also recognise hate incidents such as name calling, which often escalate into hate crime – physical violence, online abuse, graffiti or damage to property or pets, for example.
 
To coincide with Hate Crime Awareness Week from 14-21 October, the CSP has produced a short guide to supporting patients who have experienced hate crime.
 
An awareness of this issue is essential for all CSP members working across all sectors. As a clinician, you may be asked to treat injuries that have occurred as a result of hate crime. Alternatively, a patient may confide in you during treatment that they have been the victim of hate crime or hate incidents.
 
In addition, if a vulnerable adult or a child tells you that they are experiencing neglect or abuse, this may be a safeguarding issue which requires you to act.
 
The police can only tackle hate crime effectively if they know the true scale of the problem. You should encourage patients to report the crime if they have not done so already. This can be done at their local police station or online.  
 
Hate crime can have devastating consequences, causing high levels of fear and anxiety, as well as financial and social costs. People who have experienced hate crime can benefit from psychological support so you may also have a role in signposting patients to local services or back to their GP for access to counselling and support.
 
The new guidance is available via the CSP website. It has links to organisations that provide ongoing support on issues such as home security, graffiti removal and navigating the criminal justice system. It also signposts on to further CSP resources on safeguarding responsibilities. 
 
Hate Crime Awareness Week was founded in 2009 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the London nail bombings. You can find out more, attend an event or arrange to hold your own event by visiting the website here.  
 
Although the resource focuses on patients, it’s also the case that you, your colleagues or students may be a victim of hate crime or incidents. Remember that the CSP has diversity networks for black and minority ethnic members, disabled members and LGBT+ members where you can access peer support and advice. 
 
In addition, any CSP member who experiences problems in the workplace or at university can speak to their steward or student rep. If you do not have a rep, phone 020 7306 6666.
 
  • Jess Belmonte is the CSP’s national officer for equality and research
 

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