During the month of February staff at SARI have been sharing the message of spread love not hate as part of our calendars most romantic month. As well as this, members of our team have been reflecting on LGBT+ History Month and looking at the significant impact that people from the LGBT+ community have had on our society.
Even though as an organisation we have been trying to spread love throughout February, there have still been a number of high-profile incidents which have come on to our radar and that our staff are supporting the victims through.
One incident which captured media attention was at Harvey Nichols, where there were allegations that a teenage girl had been assaulted by security. The incident went viral on TikTok and there was a belief that the incident was hate-related and misogynistic towards the victim. We have reached out to the victim to see if they would like support.
A continuous piece of work is supporting people seeking sanctuary in the North Somerset area, where new contingency hotels have opened up with little to no resources available to them. SARI has been working with partners at Weston College, Citizen’s Advice North Somerset, Voluntary Action North Somerset and Bristol Refugee Rights to formulate a plan of how to get the residents of these hotels the support they need and access to relevant service.
We have also started some contracted work delivering race equality, equality and diversity, cultural competency and hate crime awareness training to Avon Fire and Rescue On Call Fire Fighters. This is to give them the tools they need to respond to the needs of Black and minority ethnic and other equalities communities, as well as how to identify a hate crime, how best to support a victim and how to refer in to SARI.
Elsewhere in the region, our Outreach and Development workers have been attending a host of events across Somerset, B&NES and North Somerset. One piece of work they have been advancing with is the development of their Allies Network. This is a group of people from community groups and organisations who have signed up to take a more active role in standing against hate in their local communities. Our Outreach and Development workers have set up the network to educate the membership, as well as empower them to be champions in their own groups or organisations.
As well as taking on new cases, in February we also helped many of our clients find a resolution to the situations that had arisen as a result of being a victim of hate crime.
Here are some examples of the feedback clients gave us this month regarding the service they received from our team.
“My caseworker made me and my family feel so much better and the service that they provided me and my family was so amazing. Thank you.”
“I thought SARI was amazing, our casework was very understanding and encouraging of me, He made me feel positive. After the support from our caseworker I feel in a much better place. Our caseworker has become like a friend of mine, he’s very good at his job he cares about the people he works with.”
“Our caseworker was excellent in his role and was reassuring and respectful. He did everything he could and kept us informed every step of the way. Working with SARI was really insightful and made us feel validated and listened to.”
In the past month we have received 44 new referrals – that is over 2 every working day. The level of hate crime in our area remains significant and widespread. As always, we will continue to support any victim of hate crime who needs our help.