Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund helps adults with learning disabilities (29 Jan 2016)

WhydontweA group that used money, given by West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to work with adults with learning disabilities, has said they were struck by the number of them who had experienced hate and mate crime.

The 'Why Don't We' charity, based in Bradford, was awarded two grants from the Safer Communities Fund - the grants are funded by money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The charity used photography and sound recordings to show people's experiences of hate and mate crime. This approach enabled those who took part to explore and easily understand the issues involved as well as providing resources for others.

Tony O'Connell, who runs Why Don't We, said: "The sessions allowed the participants to put a name to their experiences and to develop the confidence and knowledge they need to be able to report any incidents. Our staff have also learnt a lot about hate and mate crime and are now better equipped to support vulnerable people.

"A highlight of our project was when we delivered a presentation to fifty Social Care and Social Work students at Bradford College using the resources we'd created."

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "I'm pleased that the charity have been able to put the money to good use in helping adults with learning disabilities. It's good to see that 'Why Don't We' are helping empower them and help them understand what hate crime and what mate crime are and what they should do if they are victims.

"Raising awareness of hate crime and how to report it is a key priority in the Police and Crime Plan. I want victims and witnesses of hate crime to feel able to come forward and report it because it is not acceptable in any form.

" We all have a responsibility to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that foster hatred because early intervention and education can make a real difference to individuals and communities ensuring they are safer and feel safer."

The next grant round of the Safer Communities Fund opens on 14th March, 2016. For more information and how to apply please visit /safer-communities-fund/about-the-fund.aspx

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