Children’s charities have recently revealed that there has been an increase in the number of hate crimes against children in Staffordshire.
The figures obtained by the NSPCC under a Freedom of Information request, show that the number of children subjected to racial, religious and faith-based abuse has increased in the West Midlands.
In Staffordshire, figures show that there has been a 31% increase on such hate crime, with 94 incidents in 2015/16, rising to 123 incidents in 2016/17.
Children’s charity, Childline, has also revealed that in the past three years, the 24/7 counselling service delivered almost 27,000 sessions related to race and faith based bullying.
Due to the concerning figures, Childline are launching a new campaign called ‘Understand Me’, which aims to support children who are suffering in silence from physical, verbal and cyber bullying.
NSPCC Supervisor, Michelle Hall, says that the charity often sees a spike in counselling sessions following terrorist attacks.
She said: “We do tend to notice that after big events such as terrorist attacks and Brexit, we see an increase in counselling sessions for young people, who felt that this was the cause of them being treated differently and discriminated against because of their race or faith.
“It can come from a number of things, social media can have a big influence, particularly with media stories that might not necessarily be true and that can be fuel.
“It can also be that young people think that these sorts of things are jokes, however they are not realising the impact this is having on the young people that its regarding.
“What the NSPCC’s campaign is trying to do is to challenge stereotypes and the false views that people can have against people based on their race, culture or nationality.”
Following the Westminster bridge attack on March 22 2017, Childline delivered 128 counselling sessions related to race and faith based bullying in April 2017, a 36% increase compared to 94 sessions in March 2017.
NSPCC CEO, Peter Wanless, said: “Its heartbreaking to think that some children are targeted by bullies because of their race, culture or nationality.
“Racist jokes and negative stereotyping can be hurtful and leave young people feeling isolated and ashamed of who they are or where they are from.
“Our ‘Understand Me’ campaign aims to reach out to all children who are experiencing racial or faith based bullying and make sure they know that they are not alone.
“No child should suffer in silence and anyone being targeted must be supported to tell someone and ask for help.”
You can find out more about the ‘Understand Me’ campaign here.