DISABLED and handicapped people who are the victims of hate crimes are being urged not to suffer in silence and to report their tormentors.
Police have linked up with a number of organisations across South Tyneside to provide safe places for people to raise their concerns.
The move aims to encourage more people, who may be too frightened to go to a police station, to speak out and stop their abusers.
There are eight premises, known as Safe Reporting Centres, in South Tyneside where trained staff are on hand to offer support to those in need of help and to pass on any concerns.
Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said: “Hate crime is a direct attack on a person’s identity and an infringement of their human rights. Unfortunately, it can be a regular feature in the lives of people with disabilities.
“We know a visit to the police station can be a daunting experience for a lot of people, which is why we have linked in with premises across South Tyneside to provide a safe and secure environment in which people can raise their concerns.”
This week, Sheffield man David Rooke, 44, was jailed for six and a half-years after admitting holding Craig Kinsella prisoner.
The 34-year-old victim, who suffers from learning difficulties, had been forced to live in a garage and was assaulted daily by Brooke.
He appeared at Sheffield Crown Court, where he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and five counts of actual bodily harm. His wife, Donna Rooke, 40, admitted a charge of battery and was sentenced to four months in prison.
The couple’s son, Jamie Rooke, 19, was jailed for four and a half years after pleading guilty to five counts of actual bodily harm and a charge of affray.
Insp Sutton added: “The case highlights just how important it is for people not to suffer in silence and why they know about these centres and where they can get help, support and advice.
“I would also encourage anyone who suspects someone is suffering from abuse to contact us or visit one of the safe reporting centres to raise their concerns.”
Safe reporting ventres in South Tyneside can be found at: Your Voice Counts at Father James Walsh Day Centre, Hedgeley Road, Hebburn; Blissability at 34-36 New Green Street, South Shields; Arts 4 Wellbeing at 10 Derby Terrace, South Shields; Sightservice at Gordon Street, South Shields; Perth Green Community Base – Perth Green Community Base, Perth Ave, Jarrow; The PHAB Club at 113 Grange Road, Jarrow and West Harton Churches Action Station at 85-91 Boldon Lane, South Shields.
Police can be contacted on 101 ext 69191.