NSPCC launches new campaign to tackle hate crime against children

NSPCC has launched a new campaign to tackle hate crime against children (stock image). Picture: GETT

NSPCC has launched a new campaign to tackle hate crime against children (stock image). Picture: GETTYIMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than 170 hate crimes were recorded against children in Suffolk and Essex last year, a charity has revealed.

The NSPCC has today released the startling figures as it launches its new Understand Me campaign, which aims to challenge prejudice and empower young people to speak out about racial bullying and discrimination.

Data obtained by the charity from police under Freedom of Information laws show 156 crimes motivated by racial or faith-based hatred were committed against children in Essex last year, up from 102 in 2015/16.

In Suffolk there was a slight drop over the two year period, from 29 to 22.

The NSPCC runs a free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people called Childline.

In the last three years, the service has delivered almost 2,700 therapy sessions nationally about race and faith based bullying.

The charity said some young people contacting Childline had self-harmed because of the abuse they had suffered, while others avoid going to school to get away from it.

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One 11-year-old girl revealed how peers at school call her a “terrorist”.

She said: “They bully me because of the way that I dress, I don’t want to wear my headscarf to school anymore because it makes me stand out, but I could never tell my parents that. I just want to make friends at school and for people to like me, but it’s really hard when I feel like an outsider.”

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “It’s heartbreaking to think that some children are targeted by bullies because of their race, culture or nationality. Racist jokes and negative stereotyping can be hurtful and leave young people feeling isolated and ashamed of who they are or where they are from.

“Our Understand Me campaign aims to reach out to all children who are experiencing racial or faith based bullying and make sure they know that they are not alone. No child should suffer in silence and anyone being targeted must be supported to tell someone and ask for help.”

NSPCC has created a film called ‘Think You Understand Me?’ as part of its new campaign in which young people share their stories.

Children worried about bullying can contact Childline on 0800 11 11, while concerned adults can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0800 800 5000.

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