Hate crime is real and it is still happening across the country. There are many who still wish to divide us on the basis of their hate and target religions, races, gender, disability and other characteristics in order to do so. We cannot allow them to succeed.

I support local organisations to undertake specific work in this area, as whilst we are making progress in terms of reporting, some still do not come forward.

That’s why I fund the Jigsaw Project at MCCH, who are working hard to challenge disability hate crime, including against those who live with learning disabilities or neurological conditions – giving a voice to sometimes vulnerable people.

It’s also why my Office has worked with Victim Support in Ashford to recruit the first Hate Crime Advocate, who will help victims navigate the criminal justice system, provide them with care and give them confidence to go to court.

There’s a number of really good initiatives that are going on across Kent too. Medway’s third party reporting hubs provide another way of enabling victims to come forward and have their say. One of the team, Bobby, who works for Kent Police, was recently nominated in the No2Hate awards.

The physical and psychological impacts on victims are real and demand justice. Britain is a fair and tolerant country. I’m confident that as we continue to raise awareness of hate crimes, and give people a voice, this will not change.

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