The Police Service of Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Public Prosecution Service and Probation Board for Northern Ireland, have produced a short video to highlight how we work together to ensure the criminal justice system is accessible, supportive and effective for all victims of hate crime.
Chief Superintendent Emma Bond, who leads on Hate Crime for the Police Service, explains:
“Our research shows that low confidence in the system, previous negative experiences and the perception that some crimes or incidents are so minor they won’t be taken seriously are all barriers preventing victims from coming forward.
“Recognising that the criminal justice process can be complex we have undertaken a series of public engagement events to bring victims, support services and partner agencies together to shine a light on how the system works and get feedback in terms of the service we provide.
This engagement work has been complemented by the production of a video giving a brief introduction into how all the partners work together for the benefit of victims everywhere.”
Marianne O’Kane, PPS Senior Assistant Director, said:
“The Public Prosecution Service understands the devastating effect hate crime has not just on the lives of its victims, but also the wider community. These are distressing cases in which victims suffer simply because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
We hope this short video will encourage victims to have confidence in the PPS’s handling of these types of offences, and our role in the criminal justice system. We are fully committed to continuing our strong partnership working with the PSNI, and other agencies, to ensure that perpetrators of hate crime are brought to justice where possible.”
Assistant Director Eithne McIlroy stated:
“PBNI is committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms and has been working with partners to look at how best to deal with the issue.
Probation staff throughout Northern Ireland are trained to help tackle hate crime and deliver interventions to target those who have committed offences motivated by hate or prejudice. We believe this video and the engagement events send a clear message to all communities that hate crime will not be tolerated.”
Speaking on behalf of the Hate Crime Advocates, Aisling Twomey from the Rainbow Project added:
“Hate crime robs people of their confidence and their independence and under-reporting remains a key issue in tackling hate crime in Northern Ireland. I would encourage any person experiencing persecution as a result of their sexual orientation, race, disability and/or gender identity to report it to the PSNI.
If you don’t feel comfortable contacting police directly then speak to us at the Rainbow Project or with an advocacy officer based within our partners at Leonard Cheshire, Migrant Centre or Victim Support NI.”
The video was premiered at our most recent engagement event at Belfast City Hall on February 26th and is available to watch on the PSNI and partner websites and social media channels.
Further events will take place later this year across Northern Ireland.