Happy New Year one and all, we all know how sluggish a month January can be. Sadly, that doesn’t mean this puts a stop to hate crime and once again our team have been working tirelessly to support victims.
At the turn of the new year, we received a very alarming referral where a mother and her young daughter were being targeted in South Bristol. Through collaborative work with the police we have been supporting the victim and there is currently an on-going investigation to take action against the alleged perpetrators.
We have also been liaising with Avon & Somerset Constabulary and Bristol City Council to try and identify areas around the city where there is a high volume of hate crimes. Through analytics provided by the council, along with our partners we were able to identify areas where our support could be needed. Our plan is to work in partnership and develop plans of action to try and reduce and prevent further hate crimes taking place in these areas and to empower residents to feel confident to report them.
Another case we have been working on which gained a positive result was again one which had previously gained media attention. his related to the case of a 12-year-old boy who was hit with a rowing paddle by a woman in St Anne’s Park. At first the case was wrongly investigated but once the police spoke to the perpetrator they pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm. For this she was given a suspended jail sentence. SARI is still supporting the victim around the racist elements by helping the client pursue a police complaint.
Elsewhere in the region, our Outreach and Development workers have been delivering training and empowerment sessions to a whole host of different groups across Somerset, B&NES and North Somerset. This has included a joint workshop with our partners in the Diversity Trust and SWAN Advocacy.
As well as dealing with new cases, in January we helped many of our clients find a resolution to the situation they found themselves in as a result of being a victim of a hate crime.
Here are some examples of the feedback clients gave us regarding the service they received from our team.
“Overall great support from our caseworker, on numerous times he contacted us to ask how things with us. We feel very supported now and confident for a visit as we formed a special connection. Many thanks.”
“SARI helped me out of a really hard situation… Would like to thank my caseworker, second step and other agencies for all their help. Don’t feel like I would have been able to get myself out of the rut without their support.”
“We appreciate our caseworker’s support in helping us with the ongoing issues with our neighbour, we won our court case against our neighbour and feel very happy with the outcome.”
Outside of casework, SARI was invited to part of Bristol’s celebrations for Martin Luther King Day on January 16. Our Assistant Director Victoria joined other delegates from around the city to mark the occasion at the plinth where the Colston statue stood. As well as this, members of the SARI team gave their perspective of what they thought about the impact of Dr King’s “I Have A Dream” speech has today and how things have progressed.
The consensus among the SARI staff was that even though progress has been made to tackle inequality since Dr King’s death there is still a lot of work to be done.
Our Strategic Director Alex Raikes has also been busy throughout the month of January in her role as High Sheriff for Bristol. One thing she helped with was raising more than £12,000 to be spent on generators to help people in Ukraine where many people are still without power. This project was done in partnership with From Bristol with Love to Ukraine.
On a sad note the city of Bristol lost a true champion of the city in Maggie Telfer OBE. Maggie founded the Bristol Drug Project in 1986 after realising there was a lack of support for drug and alcohol users at that time.
Strategic Director at SARI, Alex Raikes said: “She [Maggie] was a great ally and partner to SARI and has always valued our contribution to the Bristol Drug Project, recognizing that tackling hate and inequality for her staff and service users is critical.”
As we look at the year ahead of us we want to encourage everyone to keep safe and if you witness a hate crime or are a victim then contact us at SARI for support.