WORK is underway to reduce hate crime targeted at disabled people in the borough.
The Safer North Tyneside Partnership has been awarded funding from the Northumbria Police grant pool to appoint a disability hate crime worker.
The role will highlight and raise awareness of the crime as well as encourage its reporting, to ultimately reduce its incidence and impact.
Mayor Linda Arkley said: “I welcome this new appointment, which will strengthen the good work we are already doing to protect and support our most vulnerable residents.
“Nobody should be subjected to hate crime, and it is very important that we properly tackle this issue.”
Hate crime can take many forms, from overt physical assault to more subtle actions such as abusive gestures or offensive material like graffiti.
The project worker will work across the whole community, including with children and young people, to provide information about what disability hate crime is, and how to report it.
They will also offer advice about how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim, by offering personalised safety tips and advice.
Victims and witnesses will be provided with a safe and appropriate environment to disclose and discuss incidents, with the aim of increasing the number of cases reported to the police.
And more support will be offered to victims.
Chief Inspector Steve Readdie, of North Tyneside Area Command, said: “We welcome this additional role to help us tackle this issue.
“Northumbria Police is committed to tackling hate crime whenever it occurs across the diverse population we serve.
“Officers have been trained to help identify it and seek the cause behind the offending.
“We understand victims can feel apprehensive about reporting hate crimes and we want to provide them with the confidence and reassurance they need to come forward and get the help they want.
“We have systems in place to support victims throughout the court process, and each incident is subject to a harm reduction plan.
“Northumbria Police also works with partners to provide further support through a vulnerable adult referral scheme.
“I’m confident this new role will support the work of partners and enable us to help more victims of this type of crime.”
Norman Maines, service delivery manager for Victim Support North Tyneside and Northumberland, added: “Victim Support looks forward to working with North Tyneside Council and our partners in the voluntary sector and other specialist organisations on this challenging but worthwhile initiative.
“We hope that with the support of the worker and our trained local volunteer team, victims will gain the confidence to report incidents to the police or other relevant agencies to help end hate crime.”