New group tackles hate crime and prejudice
Published: Friday 22nd October 10
Representatives from the borough's ethnic, faith, gay and lesbian communities have endorsed a joint council and police initiative to stamp out hate crime in Wandsworth.
Representatives from 31 local groups met on Tuesday night at the first meeting of the newly created Wandsworth Hate Crime Forum, which has been set up to combat all forms of intolerance including discrimination and persecution based on a person's beliefs, religion, race, age, gender, disability or sexual orientation.
The 31 groups which attended the launch unanimously agreed a joint declaration condemning all forms of hate crime.
Forum members backed a pledge stating: "Our concentration of efforts will be aimed at protecting victims or prospective victims and preventing crimes. We will actively condemn all forms of hate crime and violence against women regardless of the motivation. It can never be justified to allow our beliefs, practices or conduct to disadvantage, discriminate or commit criminal acts against any other person based on their;
· Disability, Race, Ethnicity or National Origins
· Gender Identity
· Religious beliefs or practices
· Sexual Orientation
· Age or Gender
The forum set itself the goal of improving "the quality of life for everyone living, working, visiting or socialising in the borough."
The pledge continued: "The hate crime forum is committed to working together with the local community to ensure a strong sense of community cohesion across the borough.......We will use our collective resources and influence to combat the causes of such crimes.
"To demonstrate our commitment we will not say, do or promote anything, which is intended to encourage or incite hate crimes against any person or group."
The aims of the forum were endorsed in a speech by council leader Edward Lister at Wednesday night's council meeting. He said: "We as councillors have a moral and civic duty to actively condemn all forms of hate crime and discrimination regardless of the motivation....The council condemns all forms of intolerance and intimidation and has pledged to work to strengthen community cohesion."
Forum chairman Cllr James Cousins said: "The aims of the forum are quite clear. We will all work closely together to create a more just, equal, peaceful and tolerant society. And we will do all we can to outlaw the abhorrent persecution and discrimination of any minority group.
"The backers of this declaration have pledged to combat and denounce all forms of intolerance and intimidation and to work with others to form a stronger bond among all our communities.
"This is a hugely positive message and one which we will be promoting actively across the borough."
A hate crime is defined as "any incident that is perceived by the victim, or any other person to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to a person's religion, belief, gender identity or disability."
The council's website contains all current and past press releases dating back to February 2000