As the weather turns colder and the nights get dark, November has proven to be another busy month for SARI. In the past month we have seen some horrific incidents being perpetrated against victims across Avon & Somerset. But we have also had some really positive engagement and outcomes for the people we have been supporting.
Each month we will look to give a overview of what have been doing as an organisation.
This month has seen a number of high-risk referrals being submitted into SARI, one of which has gained a substantial amount of media attention.
This relates to the arson attack at Eccleston House, in Barton Hill where the client we are supporting has been left without a home along with 8 other households. Many others have been left afraid and have had their lives disrupted. Soon after this attack, the same community suffered another horrible hate crime where a pig’s head was left outside the block of flats, in a community where there are a lot of people who follow the religion of Islam.
As an organisation we have been liaising with the police and local authority to make sure our clients are feeling safe and updated on any investigations. Our caseworkers have been speaking to their clients directly, and our strategic director Alex Raikes and a member of our management team have attended community meetings to hear the views of the wider community and what work they believe needs to be done. We will continue to hold the local statuary bodies to account and make sure the voices of minorities communities are being heard.
Elsewhere in the region, we have recently started supporting a person who was attacked by six people in Bridgwater. Our caseworker is providing emotional support for the client and is monitoring the investigation with the police on their behalf. The area where the incident took place is a known hotspot, and out Somerset caseworker is working closely with the police to try and make the area safe for all who live there.
As well as dealing with new cases, in November 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.
“The support our caseworker gave us throughout was amazing and the progress of our case was so quick and the police responded much better thank to his involvement. SARI have been amazing in helping us and we needed their support so desperately, and we feel much more confident in defending ourselves and having people on our side.”
“Thank all of you so much, had a really great experience and everything improved so much since you got involved.”
In terms of awareness and preventative work we have been doing this month, our staff have been delivering workshops to a range of schools across the Avon & Somerset area, giving them tools on how to report and recognise a hate crime, and how to support a victim. We have also been working closely with local authorities to explore ways to best support refugees and asylum seekers who have been housed in the contingency plan hotels across the region.
Our Outreach team has been extremely busy going out and about in Somerset, B&NES and North Somerset. They have been attending events such as visiting Refugee welcome hubs across Somerset, the annual Bridgwater together event and the Gay West Rainbow Café in Bath. All of these events gave the team an opportunity to engage with different members of our community, raise awareness of what a Hate Crime is and how we at SARI can support victims.
We also attended the annual Trans Pride South West event in Bristol, where along with other partner agencies we launched our Best Practice Guidance for supporting Trans and Non-Binary people for Health and Wellbeing Practitioners.
As we look ahead to the festive period 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.