Don’t tolerate homophobic hate crime – Report it.

This is the message that is being issued as part of a new drink mat campaign being launched today (Wednesday, August 5) at the Eisteddfod in a bid to encourage more people to come forward and report homophobic hate crime.

Every year, North Wales Police receives complaints of homophobic hate crime - some of which are believed to be drink related. In a bid to call time on the crime and encourage more people to come forward, North Wales Police and Stonewall Cymru have worked in partnership to launch the campaign which is being backed by the Eisteddfod.

Starting in the Meirionnydd area, the home of the National Eisteddfod for 2009, drink mats have been produced and are to be distributed to licensed premises and other drink providers right across the force area in a bid to reaffirm the message.

Presiding Officer of the Welsh National Assembly, Lord Dafydd Elis- Thomas, will launch the campaign, along with Acting Chief Constable of North Wales Police Clive Wolfendale.

Lord Elis- Thomas said: “I applaud this partnership work between North Wales Police and Stonewall Cymru, and endorsed by the Eisteddfod, to address homophobic hate crime in rural areas. It is important to make it clear to perpetrators that this, and other forms of hate crime, will not be tolerated and to encourage victims to have the confidence to report incidents to the Police.”

Each of the drink mats has the following bi-lingual message printed upon it:
Homophobic abuse physical or verbal is a criminal offence
North Wales Police will not tolerate homophobic abuse...and you shouldn’t it

Jenny Porter, Community Liaison Officer for Stonewall Cymru, said: "It’s particularly pleasing that the Eisteddfod is supporting this initiative which will encourage victims of homophobic hate crime to report instances wherever they may live – be it in cities, towns or rural areas.

“I hope that victims of homophobic abuse will take heart from this initiative and report it. Suffers can report directly to the police by phone or anonymously they can also get support from Victim Support."

Greg George is the Head of Diversity for North Wales Police and has worked with Stonewall Cymru for a number of years. He said: “I'm really pleased that North Wales Police has continued its strong working relationship with Stonewall Cymru to design and launch this drinks mat. There is a significant problem of under reporting of Homophobic Hate Crime and the drinks mat will encourage victims to speak to the Police and send a clear message that North Wales Police will not tolerate Homophobic Hate crime.

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