Promoting and advancing awareness of hate crime in FE
At NCFE, we are committed to our core purpose to promote and advance learning to ensure that learners of all ages, races, religions and from all socioeconomic backgrounds can progress in their lives and careers.
At a time where issues of equality and diversity have once again become headline news, we wanted to highlight some of the proactive measures that we as an organisation are taking to ensure that our customers have access to the resources and training that they need to promote awareness and support prevention of hate crime.
What the training programme involves
The Northumbria Police Hate Crime Champions programme is a two-tier training programme designed to raise awareness about hate crime across the wider population, especially among those in education, as they are best placed to make a bigger difference in the future.
Developed in-house by Northumbria Police using funding provided by the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and the Home Office, and endorsed by NCFE, the first tier of the programme is 'Hate Crime Awareness'.
Focusing on the definition of hate crime, this session enables learners to identify the five protected characteristics and understand the huge impact that being targeted for who you are can have on individuals and society more widely. The session concludes with a call to those who feel passionately about making a difference to sign up to the tier two session.
Tier two is titled 'Hate Crime Champions' and the purpose of this is to harness the enthusiasm of individuals to make changes from within their place of work, or educational institution. This session provides Champions with practical tools to increase awareness and actively support those who have been victimised.
Why is the programme so important?
Statistics provided by the Home Office show that the number of hate crime-related offences recorded by Police has more than doubled across the UK since 2012/13, with 460 offences reported to have been carried out in FE colleges between 2015 and 2019.
Similar to how some recreational drugs are considered a ‘gateway’ to substance abuse, hate speech and acts of discrimination have been identified in Allport's Scale of Prejudice and Discrimination as a stepping stone to more serious offences. Training programmes like the one provided by Northumbria Police aim to break this cycle by preventing hate crimes from the outset.
Designed to fit with a number of core policies upheld by FE institutions, such as equality and diversity and bullying and harassment, by addressing issues head-on and raising awareness of hate crime, the Hate Crime Champions programme enables individuals to support those around them and help them to achieve their full potential.
What has been the impact of the Hate Crime Champions programme?
To date, the Hate Crime Champions training has been delivered to nearly 10,000 individuals across a wide range of educational establishments and public and private sector organisations, as well as internally to Northumbria Police staff.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Hate Crime Champions programme was due to be launched at a national level at the National Hate Crime Conference, which is attended by representatives from all of the UK’s Police forces, local authorities and PCCs, who were to be encouraged to take them on and spread the word more widely.
How else is NCFE working to tackle hate crime?
At NCFE, we are committed to using the power of education to improve lives and we see our involvement with initiatives such as the Hate Crime Champions programme as a key element of our role to support communities and deliver on our core purpose to promote and advance learning.
As part of an ongoing body of work with Northumbria Police to address hate crime, we invited a number of officers into NCFE prior to the lockdown to deliver an event for colleagues which helped to raise awareness of the issue and the many forms which it can take.
Inspired by the session, we have started exploring ways in which hate crime training can be incorporated into our own staff induction process, and how we can introduce hate crime champions in the workplace.
Taking this a step further, again, prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, we had started to arrange Hate Crime Champions sessions for a number of our partner colleges to help bring awareness to learners. While these have had to be postponed in the short term, we will look to rearrange as soon as we are able to.
From a resources and platforms perspective, at NCFE we’re very much aware of how hate crime can be committed using digital platforms such as social media and virtual learning environments.
To address this, we have developed a suite of resources to support the PSHE agenda that include topics such as bullying and harassment, equality, British values and online safety and have converted some of these into blended learning to support our T Level curriculum.
How to get involved
The Hate Crime Champions programme will be made available very soon for schools, colleges and centres to deliver to learners.
If you would be interested in hosting a session, please contact [email protected] for more information.