National Hate Crime Awareness Week is being marked on Thursday with a candle vigil at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.
With the theme of the week being education, Suffolk Hate Crime Partnership organisations will be raising awareness of what hate crime is, as well as how to respond to it, encouraging victim reporting, and promoting local support services and resources.
A hate crime is defined as any criminal offence perceived by the victim or others as being motivated by prejudice or hatred.
From August 2014 to July 2015 there were 608 hate crimes reported in Suffolk. 401 were racial, 107 disability, 73 sexual orientation, 15 religion and 12 transgender related.
Suffolk Hate Crime Vigil, from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, will start with a performance by Hadleigh Community Choir and will feature speakers such Cllr Tony Goldson, county cabinet member for Community Safety; Emma Free from Guide Dogs Association and Graham Holmes from Hadleigh Community Choir who have both been victims of hate crime. Ivan Humble, an ex-English Defence League member who is now a campaigner against hate crime, will also speak.
Other events in include Sudbury Hub and No72 delivering training & Hate Crime Awareness by Phoenix Rising tomorrow; a befriending scheme drop-in session at Leading Lives, Bury, and a Hate Crime Awareness drop-in at Haverhill Library 10-12 between 10am and noon on Wednesday; Suffolk’s High Sheriff meeting victims of hate crime at the Info Bar Bury on Thursday and workshops with West Suffolk College Year Two Forensic Science students on Friday.