Event at Senedd spreads word of support service for hate crime victims

Victim Support, Stonewall Cymru and Welsh assembly members will be gathering to promote a service for victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crime in Wales, at an event at the Senedd, Cardiff Bay on Thursday 17 June from 11am to 3pm.

Brynle Williams, Conservative Assembly Member for North Wales and Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs is sponsoring the event, and will officially open it at midday with the support of Lorraine Barrett, Labour Assembly Member for Cardiff South and Penarth.

The ‘It’s No Joke’ project, launched in January this year by the national charity and Stonewall Cymru, has already helped a number of homophobic and transphobic hate crime victims to find the strength to move on with their lives.

The event is aimed at boosting awareness of the project amongst members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community and letting them know that they have someone to turn to in confidence if they are suffering the effects of hate crime. ‘It’s No Joke’ aims to reach people who are perhaps unsure who to tell, or hesitant talking about their experience.

Many people are reluctant to report crimes, sometimes for fear of reprisals and often because they feel vulnerable or intimidated. Victim Support and Stonewall Cymru are independent charities helping victims of hate crime regardless of whether they have reported the incident to the police.

With £50,000 funding from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Victim Support is specially-training a team of existing staff and volunteers, plus a number of new recruits.

Support is tailored to suit people’s needs and can include advice on personal safety, and information on how to deal with criminal justice agencies. Staff and volunteers at the Witness Service will support victims and witnesses throughout a trial, helping those who feel vulnerable or intimidated to get special measures in court.

Someone helped by ‘It’s No Joke’, but who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “After contacting the ‘It’s No Joke’ project I not only received emotional support, but also help in improving the security of my home. Victim Support also got involved with the council to help sort out a new fence to stop the abusers from getting in the garden and causing more distress. I would definitely recommend contacting Victim Support, just to have that extra someone there, helping to get things moving in the right direction”.

Gaynor McKeown, Victim Support’s Regional Manager for Wales, who will be speaking at the event, said: “With our experience of helping victims of hate crime, we know the devastation it can cause. Many people are reluctant to report these crimes, but we really hope this event will reach members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community, and let them know we are there for them if they have become a victim of hate crime. They should not suffer in silence, and we will empower them to make decisions that are right for them.”

If you have been a victim of a homophobic or transphobic hate crime, please call the ‘It’s No Joke’ helpline on 0845 6 121 900.
For more information please contact:

Gaynor McKeown      Victim Support Cymru Regional Manager
Telephone:               01492 584962
Email:                      gaynor.mckeown@victimsupport.org.uk

Jenny Porter              Stonewall Cymru Community Liaison Officer
Telephone:                01492 622202 / 07958137350
Email:                       jenny.porter@stonewallcymru.org.uk 


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