A new campaign educating young people about the impact of hate crime and the importance of speaking up has been launched ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day.
Organised by Fearless.org, the youth service of the charity Crimestoppers, it features the voices of young people from across Scotland talking about their experiences of hate crime and prejudice-based bullying.
On the Fearless podcast, one young person who was the victim of a targeted assault because of his race and religion talks about how it affected his mental health.
Other young people explore living with a hidden disability, their sexuality, gender identity and the people who have supported them.
The initiative was launched to coincide with events around Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.
Lyndsay McDade, Fearless national youth projects co-ordinator at Crimestoppers, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day isn’t just focused on commemorating the atrocities of the past.
“It very much encourages reflection on the prejudice, discrimination and hostility people face today – simply because of their identity.
“We know that the vast majority of young people are firmly anti-prejudice. Figures show that under-18s were responsible for just 6% of all recorded hate crime charges in Scotland last year.
“Therefore, this campaign aims to further explain to them the impact of hate crime and how they can challenge it, safely, amongst their peers, family and in their communities.
“If you are a victim of hate crime, I would strongly encourage you to tell a trusted adult, police or visit a Third Party Reporting Centre.
“If you have witnessed or are aware of who is responsible for hate crime, then you can speak up 100% anonymously to our charity at Fearless.org. We’re not able to trace your IP address or any contact details.”
As part of the initiative the charity will also be hosting a series of outreach events across the country.
The protected characteristics covered by hate crime legislation are disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and transgender identity.
Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie MSP is supporting the campaign.
She said: “Education has a key role to play in building a society which actively challenges racism, eliminates discrimination and advances equality.
“On Holocaust Memorial Day and throughout the year, schools across Scotland are providing learning for children and young people that focus on the history and its impact on people and society today.
“The Scottish Government is committed to tackling all forms of discrimination and promoting a multi-faith and multi-cultural society based on mutual trust, respect and understanding.
“Projects such as Fearless educate young people on hate crime and prejudice. When young people are empowered to speak up, they are helping to make Scotland safer for everyone.”
– More information about the campaign can be found at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/fearless/professionals/fearless-scotland/hate-crime
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