Twenty-four hour hate crime helpline launched

A woman holding a mobile phone looking out of the window
The Stop Hate Line can now offer local support in Northamptonshire [PA Media]

A new 24-hour helpline has been launched for victims and witnesses of hate crime.

The Stop Hate Line service is already available in some parts of England and is now operational in Northamptonshire.

The service will be one of the charities supported by the new chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, Jo Gilford.

She said she wanted to "bring our community closer".

The helpline, run by the Stop Hate UK charity, is described as a "safe and independent space" for victims and witnesses.

It was set up nationally in 2006 in response to the inquiry over the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, which recommended that victims should have the opportunity to report incidents "at locations other than police stations, and [have] the ability to report 24 hours a day".

Rose Simkins, the chief executive of Stop Hate UK, said: "We can support people who feel they have nowhere else to turn or when other services are closed or busy."

The charity said it was working with local organisations including councils, Northampton Town FC, the University of Northampton and Northamptonshire Police to raise awareness of the service.

Ms Gilford said: "My aim for the year ahead is simple yet profound: to bring our community closer, to celebrate our diversity and to champion the causes that matter most to each and every one of us."

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