During National Hate Crime Awareness Week a bespoke hate crime reporting app will be launched that will make it easier to record and report hate crime in Sussex.
The one-year pan-Sussex pilot is being launched by Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, in partnership with Sussex Police, Brighton & Hove City Council Safer City Team, Victim Support and local authorities across Sussex.
The service will be built on the existing Self Evident crime reporting app, and custom-built software funded by the Sussex PCC and her counterpart in London will be added to help serve victims of hate crime who may want to access help and advice but will not necessarily want to involve the police.
The added functionality in the app will allow users to send a report straight to Victim Support without the need to report to police. Those who do choose to report an incident to the police will still be offered help from Victim Support.
Victims and witnesses of hate crime will be able to store evidence securely and build a dossier, so they can decide at a later stage whether they want to send it on to victim support services or to the police. This data will allow partners to identify anonymously where the hate crime hot spots are in the county and react accordingly.
Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “No one should be singled out and victimised because of their sexuality, gender, race, faith or disability.
“Many minority groups have not always had the same trust in the police. I am determined to improve this for everyone and that is why I fully support any initiative that tackles hate crime, which is a key priority in my Police & Crime Plan.
“The modified app will empower victims of hate crime by allowing them to choose the kind of support they want to receive. Ultimately, the app puts the victim in the driving seat.”
Graham Hill, Victim Support’s Lead Manager for Hate Crime Services in Sussex, said: “People affected by hate crime are often reluctant to tell anybody about what is happening to them. As a consequence they internalise this and ‘suffer in silence’; also they do not access the support that is available to them.
“Together with our partner agencies, we have worked to create an environment in which people have the confidence to tell others they are being targeted. The development of an app to encourage those affected to report this is a very welcome step forward. We welcome the fact that victims have the option to involve the police, if that is their choice, or to report to an independent third party, such as Victim Support.”
The app will be officially launches at The Mesmerist in Brighton on Tuesday 13 October. Follow updates on social media using the hashtag #NoPlaceForHate.
The app is now available to download on iPhone and Android.