Nurses and staff at a Kent hospital have been urged by Kent Police to report any hate-related incidents they experience whilst on duty.

Mick Cronin from Victim Support; Carly Sheehan, Director of Nursing at William Harvey Hospital; Sgt Andy Owen from Ashford’s Victim Based Crime Team and Community Liaison Officer, Catherine Stevens

Members of Ashford’s Community Safety Unit and Victim Based Crime Team met up with staff at the William Harvey Hospital to raise awareness of hate crime and its impact and why incidents should be reported.

It followed research by Community Liaison Officer, Police Staff Employee Catherine Stevens, which suggested that employees from diverse communities did not always know what hate crime was – nor that they may have been victim or witness to it – and that it should be reported to police.

During a presentation at the hospital, Ashford’s Hate Crime Sergeant, Andy Owen talked through different options for tackling hate-related incidents – serving to quash myths that only potentially lengthy court proceedings would help victims receive a positive outcome. Mick Cronin, from Victim Support, explained the support available to people who have been affected.

Speaking after the event, Sgt Andy Owen said:

‘Everyone has the right to go about their work free from the fear of harassment. Crimes motivated by prejudice are abhorrent and all incidents reported to us are investigated thoroughly, victims of hate crime need not suffer in silence.

‘As a result of today’s discussions and the information we have shared, hospital staff can feel empowered to know when and how to report offences to us, so that we can work to bring the perpetrators of hate crime to justice.’

Catherine Stevens said:

‘It was clear that prior to our visit, staff did not recognise that they should be making a report to Kent Police if they had been a victim of – or witnessed one of their colleagues being subjected to a hate-related incident.

‘Through this extremely beneficial event, we have also equipped staff to discuss the issue with other colleagues, hence bringing this to the forefront of their minds as they carry out their work.

‘It is vitally important that staff know they should never have to tolerate abuse in the workplace.’

Carly Sheehan, Director of Nursing for the William Harvey Hospital, said: 

‘The visit was extremely beneficial to staff and raised awareness with teams what hate crime is and how it may impact individuals at work.

‘Staff felt this was a valuable discussion and have taken steps to educate all members of their team and place posters in clinical areas to signpost services that can be accessed if teams or individuals experience hate crime, which I believe has not been recognised enough.

‘As an organisation we are continuing this good work and are looking forward to more visits by Ashford’s Community Safety Unit and Victim Based Crime Team. We very much welcome this ongoing support from the team.’

Following the success of the inaugural event, regular visits by the team to the William Harvey Hospital are now being planned through the hospital’s Staff Hub.

Find out more about hate crime and how to report it, from the dedicated hate crime pages on the Kent Police website.

By Ed

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