Cambridgeshire

Hate crime help available in Huntingdon and Fenland

Man holding his head in his hands
Image caption Open Out, which supports victims of hate crimes, has expanded to Fenland and Huntingdon

A support group for victims of hate crimes now provides a service for people in Huntingdon and Fenland.

The Open Out scheme helps people who are being targeted because of their race, faith, gender, sexuality, age or disability.

Karolina Bober, Huntingdonshire Open Out co-ordinator, said: "Hate crime can often have a devastating effect on victims."

"Research suggests that as many as 95% of hate crimes go unreported."

Macpherson report

Victims can be targeted verbally, physically or have their property damaged.

Open Out was initially set up in Cambridge in 2001 as a result of the Macpherson report, which came out of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

People who report incidents to Open Out will receive support and advice.

Co-ordinators will then work with local charities and other organisations to resolve the issues.

Ms Bober added: "There is no pressure to report the incident to police.

"However this is an option and the Open Out co-ordinator can support victims through the process."

Supt Gary Ridgway, from Cambridgeshire Police, said: "The force takes all reports of hate crime extremely seriously and we want people to report all incidents.

"We will deal robustly with offenders."

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