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Seminar to focus on hate crime in cyberspace

Professionals from across the UK are due to attend a seminar examining hate crime in cyberspace.

Organised by Northamptonshire Police, in partnership with the University of Northampton, the event will be attended by people from across the country ahead of Hate Crime Awareness Week, which starts on Monday, October 16.

Guest speakers will present their experiences of hate crimes committed online, the impact they can have and the ways to report it.

The event, which will take place at the University’s Park Campus tomorrow (Wednesday, October, 11) has attracted attendees from across the UK, many of whom work in agencies tasked with tackling hate crime.

Rukhsana Bashir, Hate Crime Co-Ordinator for Northamptonshire Police, is one of the guest speakers. She said: “Hate crimes are committed every day and can have a significant impact on the victim. Unfortunately these crimes are becoming a growing issue online where people appear to be more willing to post hate-filled comments with little fear of the consequences.

“To be able to tackle the problem we first need to fully understand the nature of what is posted, the motivation behind it and impact it has on the victims of abuse.

“The seminar will allow professionals from a broad range of organisations to discuss the issue and hopefully find ways to provide improved support for victims as well as look at what options are available for pursuing prosecutions whenever possible.”

Next week is Hate Crime Awareness Week when the Force and partners across Northamptonshire will be highlighting the impact hate crimes can have on victims as well as encouraging those people who have been targeted to report incidents to police or other reporting centres.

Chief Inspector Lara Alexander-Lloyd, said: “We know hate crimes have a significant impact on victims and sadly have become the ‘norm’ for some people. This is not acceptable and we want to help, but we can only do that when we know what’s happening.

“Our message to people who have been targeted simply because of who they are is to report every incident to us. Nobody should be targeted simply because of who they are. Not only can we investigate to help prevent further incidents taking place in the future, we can also provide support to victims.”

Guest speakers at the conference will be:

• Mark Wilson from Tell MAMA, an independent organisation which works on tackling anti-muslim hate

• Dr Paul Jackson from the UoN, a historian whose main teaching and research focuses on understanding the impact if radical and extreme ideologies on society. His current focus is on the dynamics of the neo-Nazi and other extreme right ideologies in post-war Europe

• Matthew Toresen from Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire which provides a wide range of support services to groups and organisations

• Rukhsana Bashir, Northamptonshire Police’s Hate Crime Co-Ordinator, who is responsible for monitoring hate crime and working in partnership with other organisations to ensure all agencies are tackling hate crime and providing an excellent service to victims

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