School Visit – Hate Crime Talk
Today we had Steve and Alan from the local Fire Brigade come in and speak to the staff and young people about Hate Crimes. It was really useful for the young people to learn about the definition of a hate crime, what can count as a hate crime, the effect it has on individuals and their communities, but also the consequences of committing or taking part in hate crimes/ hate incidents. They covered how to keep safe online and that the harmful messages people send online can be traced back to them by using computers and mobile phones so to think before posting anything.
The young people were asked to speak about what ‘protected characteristics’ are and why it is important that that these characteristics are protected from discrimination by law. They covered all characteristic but focused on abuse towards people due to their race, religion, disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Fire Men demonstrated this by showing the young people educational videos and by telling stories of real incidents and reports they had dealt with. They also used the racial abuse towards football players during the World Cup which the young people were able to connect with. It was made clear that when out in public, if verbal abuse occurs that would be considered a hate crime, it is not only the victim of the abuse that can report this, but any member in the community who witnesses it. They were informed that these reports would be taken just as seriously as if the victim reported it.
The Fire Officers were empathetic and assured the young people that we all ‘see red’ sometimes and say things without thinking, but it is so important that we recognise this and apologise when we upset or cause offence to people. They also commented that there is a trend at the moment of calling behaviour ‘banter’ or ‘roasting’ when it is actually bullying under a different name and to stop when involved in situations and conversations like this.
Overall, it was very beneficial and informative for the young people and staff, as well as being fun. Thank you Essex Fire Services!