INCREASING numbers of people in the Swansea region are being targeted with hate crime, according to Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council.
And the city-based group has now set up a new initiative for victims of hate crime, thanks to lottery funding.
The award of £499,530 will fund the Voices Have Spoken project for three years, and aims to provide better help and support to tackle and report incidents of hate crime and discrimination against people in Swansea, Neath, and Port Talbot.
It will also provide advocacy, advice and guidance service to tackle hate crime against race, religion and disability. Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council chief executive Taha Idris said: "There has been a huge increase in the number of people subject to hate crime in the Swansea Bay region.
"And this project is about showing victims of crime based on disabilities, or religion or minority groups that they have a voice, and there is support for them.
"The majority often do not speak out because they think it does not affect them, but it affects everyone.
"It may be that someone who is subject of a hate crime is in your family, or a friend or someone you work with, and those carrying out the bullying need to be stood up to."
The Voices Have Spoken project will provide one-to-one advice, guidance and support to BME (black minority ethnic) and non-BME communities through outreach work in Swansea and Neath and Port Talbot. It aims to develop partnerships with community groups and businesses, and organise events to encourage the reporting of hate crime incidents.
The move has been welcomed by Swansea-based AM Peter Black, who said: "This is a much-needed scheme. Swansea Bay communities are welcoming and friendly, and have always been firm in their opposition to those who peddle hatred towards people whom they see as different in some way. However, there are still far too many instances where local people are discriminated against, harassed, or worse on the basis of their colour, religion, or disability. Such behaviour has no place in a civilised society. We all have a responsibility to help stamp out hate crime, even when it isn't happening to us directly."
Contact the Voices Have Spoken team on 01792 457035.