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Victim Support puts on art display in Gravesend to raise awareness of hate crime

Victims of hate crime have been expressing their emotions on canvas.

People who have been affected by it were invited along to art workshops to express their feelings about what happened to them.

The charity, which is KentOnline, kmfm and KMTV’s chosen charity of the year arranged free creative workshops at four locations in the county for people to go along to.

Reporter Aleeza Shah went along to the gallery

The workshops were held at the Quarterdeck Youth Centre, Zion Place, in Margate the Nucleus Arts Cafe, in Chatham at the Quarter House in Tontine Street, Folkestone and at The Snug at Gravesend Borough Market during the Gravesend Fusion Festival.

The workshops gave people the opportunity to go along and express their anger in the non-verbal form of art.

They could also seek help in overcoming their negative experiences by speaking to staff from the charity for support.

Elizabeth Pallister, hate crime advocate for Victim Support is encouraging others to do express their emotions via art.

Victim Support Hate Crime Advocate Liz Pallister Picture: Andy Jones
Victim Support Hate Crime Advocate Liz Pallister Picture: Andy Jones

She said: "We invited people who have been a victim of a hate crime in any way to come along whether they have witnessed it first hand, second hand, experiencing it within their community and anything else.

"We also offer a range of media from collaging to painting pictures, as long as you’re expressing yourself it doesn’t matter what format you choose."

Kent Police recorded over 300 hate crime offences in 2017/18, including some victims who were toddlers and babies, which means there were almost six days a week where a child became victim to hate crime in the county during the time period.

The figures were obtained by the national children's charity the NSPCC, which carried out a nationwide investigation by asking all police forces in the country for their figures.

Hate crime is a growing issue, and in May, it was revealed race hate crimes on children in the county was at a three-year high.

Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott has funded a one year hate crime advocate project at Victim Support in order to provide a bespoke service to people affected by it.

Matthew Scott
Matthew Scott

He said: "The effects of hate crime can be multiple and they can be very serious.

"It can leave people feeling a sense of shame, they can feel disenfranchised, they can even feel isolated from their own communities, and that’s just not fair.

"As the Police and Crime Commissioner, I work with agencies like Victim Support to give people that empowerment back.

"Showing them that they do have someone to turn to if they need to, to talk about the issues they are facing, to try and get some sense of empowerment and power back in their own lives.

"They do not have to suffer in silence.

"We do need to redouble our efforts to ensure we are all making our efforts against hate crime and that we don’t leave these heinous offences unchallenged.

"And that’s why I invest in schemes like Victim Support and others to help give people back their voice."

The artwork is being shown to the public at the Blake Gallery in Gravesend between 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday until July 25.

The workshops were organised by Victim Support in conjunction with the Kent Equality Cohesion Council.

For more details about the charity’s work and if you need support call 0808 168 9276, when the local office is closed call 0808 168 9111 or click here.

For more real life stories, click here.

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