As we mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week the Welsh Government has announced a new scheme to help school children in Wales and their teachers learn to better identify and respond to hate speech and misinformation, and to ensure schools nurture ethical, informed citizens who contribute to a more cohesive society.
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt today (Thursday 17October) announced £350,000 for the Hate Crime in Schools project which will be delivered through the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).
Hate crime reporting has increased year-on-year since the Welsh Government published its Tackling Hate Crimes and Incidents Framework in 2014. The Hate Crime in Schools project is being funded from the Welsh Government’s European Transition Fund and is part of a package of additional support being provided over the coming 18 months to help to prevent hate crimes and incidents, and mitigate their effects on victims and communities in Wales.
The WLGA will work with partners with the expertise to visit schools across the country to encourage critical thinking skills and challenge myths which children may have heard. This will be achieved in approximately 100 schools during the 2019/2020 academic year.
Jane Hutt said,
Together we’re working to build a strong and diverse society here in Wales, where people of any race or faith are valued for their character and their actions. We all want to help create a peaceful and harmonious country where our children and future generations can thrive.
We hope this project can support our children and young people to develop critical thinking skills which will enable them to question hateful narratives wherever they encounter them. The project will also aim to equip school staff with the skills to challenge hate crime and support victims when it occurs in school.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, WLGA Education spokesperson said:
This funding announcement is welcome and will provide valuable support to schools and, crucially, to students to provide guidance and support, and to challenge and prevent incidents of hate crime occurring within our schools. The WLGA will work with local authorities in developing this programme and will align with the good work already established through authorities and in schools to ensure a cohesive approach, seeking to target the communities and schools which are most in need of support.
Today’s funding is a positive step in the right direction, educating the young and changing mind-sets from the very beginning. Of course this change won’t happen overnight, so we need to continue to offer help and support to those victims experiencing hate crime now. The National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre is at the forefront of the delivery of this support, funded by the Welsh Government to provide all Wales support and advice to victims of hate crime.
Today the Deputy Minister & Chief Whip and the Counsel General & Brexit Minister will meet with staff from the centre and representatives from organisations who represent those affected by hate crime to learn more about how Welsh Government EU Transition Funding is helping further the Centre’s provision and to talk about what more needs to be done to tackle these crimes.
The Deputy Minister & Chief Whip and the Counsel General & Brexit Minister will both be available for interview at the centre.