A local charity relaunched a Hate Crime Reporting Centre at The Advice Shop in the Sovereign Centre in Weston-super-Mare last Monday.

The Relaunch, set up by Citizens Advice North Somerset, was attended by partners from Responding to Hate Incidents North Somerset, Stand Against Racism & Inequality, North Somerset Council Community Safety and Library Service, Police, Race Equality North Somerset and Voluntary Action North Somerset. 

A hate crime is one, which the victim believes is motivated by their race or ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. 

It can take the form of physical attacks, vandalism, criminal damage, arson, verbal abuse, cyberbullying and abuse on social media, offensive letters, text messages or phone calls, or offensive leaflets and posters. 

Fiona Cope, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice North Somerset, said: “We have been a local Hate Crime Reporting Centre for many years, but it’s time for a refresh. 

“We know that community tensions are increasing because of the cost-of-living crisis and other factors. Hate crimes are on the increase but people don’t feel they have a way to raise them. CANS offers a safe space to come and talk - a trusted friend. 

“Hate crime is under-reported and we hope that The Advice Shop being a Hate Crime Reporting Centre will make a difference.”

For more information please contact the adviceline number on 08082787973.