A week of action is taking place in a stand against hate crime and to show victims they will be supported.
Northumbria Police will be joining forces with a number of agencies to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week this week.
A series of special events are being held across the force area including in Sunderland and South Tyneside.
Northumbria Police Community Engagement Officer Tor Metcalfe, who helped organise some of the numerous awareness events, said: “This week, we are hoping to reinforce the message to everyone that being victimised because of who you are or who people think you are is fundamentally wrong. No one should ever have to experience discrimination, hostility or be treated differently because of who they are.
“There are some fantastic opportunities this week for people to come along and celebrate who they are alongside officers from Northumbria Police and councillors.
"Being you is not a crime and while we hope you never have to experience what it feels like to be a victim of hate crime, we hope you know you have the full support of the Force should you ever need us.
"Please do not suffer in silence. We take every report extremely seriously.”
Northumbria’s hate crime lead Superintendent Nicola Musgrove said: “It is absolutely unacceptable to abuse someone because of who they are and we will stand together to stop this sort of prejudice.
“We have worked extremely hard to give victims the confidence to come forward. We have also seen improvements in how we record hate crime and developed a better understanding among officers about what constitutes a hate crime.
“We know that not everyone feels comfortable in calling 101 and reporting these types of crimes to the police but there are a number of other ways you can report hate crime. We have Safe Reporting Centres across the force area as well as through third sector agencies like True Vision and Tell Mamma.
“If you have been a victim of hate crime we would urge you to come forward. Even if this does not result in a criminal prosecution, you will be supported by our specialist officers.”
Events taking place this week include:
Gateshead Against Hate – Gateshead Stadium from 1pm-3pm on Monday, October 15;
Blue Door Project - Wallsend with the Neighbourhood Policing Team, on Monday, October 15 from 2pm- 4pm;
Work Place Hate Crime Champion promotional event – St James’ Park from 9.30am – 2pm;
Asylum seeker drop in in St Andrew's Church Ashington, on Tuesday, October 16 from noon-4pm;
Hate Crime – Experts by Experience event with Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE as keynote speaker – Caedmon Hall, Gateshead Library, Tuesday, October 16 from 9.30am-2pm;
Hate Crime awareness - Age Concern, South Tyneside on Wednesday, October 17 from 10am;
Community opportunity event – Arts4Wellbeing have been invited into police stations across Sunderland from 10am on October 18 to see how we record and investigate hate crimes;
Hate crime awareness - The Winter Gardens with Sunderland People First, on Thursday, October 18 from 9.30am-12.30pm;
Hate crime input sessions – Islamic Centre, North Shields on Friday, October 19 from 1pm and at 5.30pm at The Base LGBT Youth Group, Whitley Bay;
Hate Crime input with the 1st Washington Scout Group on Friday, October 19 from 6pm;
Hate crime inputs for overseas students, asylum seekers and adults with learning disabilities are taking place all week at South Tyneside College, Friends of the Drop in Sunderland and Washington.