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Asian hate-crime victims offered dedicated support

A NATIONWIDE helpline to support south and south-east Asian victims of hate crime has been launched following a huge increase in racially motivated attacks. 

On Your Side is run by specialist advisers to offer culturally sensitive and tailored advice and support to victims via a 24/7 helpline. 

It was created in response to an increase in hate crimes against south and south-east Asian people since the coronavirus outbreak.

Police forces recorded 5,866 hate crimes between 2018 and April 2021, according to figures obtained by campaigners, and London’s Metropolitan Police received reports of 101 hate crimes in March 2020, a huge jump from the 20 incidents reported in January that year. 

The helpline has been developed by 15 charities and community groups and is being funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Community’s Hong Kong welcome programme. 

Charity East & South-east Asian Scotland said that despite the huge increase in abuse, including verbal and physical attacks, there had not been any tailored support or reporting services available for these groups until now. 

“I know the impact of this first-hand,” the charity’s executive director Kimi Jolly said. “I’ve been violently assaulted, harassed and verbally abused.

“And I’m not alone in experiencing such incidents. Some people still don’t consider racial jokes made towards members of the east and south-east Asian community as actually being a form of racism.”

Campaigners linked the rise in hate crimes in 2020 to divisive rhetoric by former US president Donald Trump, who referred to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus.” 

A spokesperson for No Cold War Britain told the Morning Star: “As was entirely predictable, the deliberate attempt to whip up anti-China frenzy by the US and some political forces in Britain … is leading to an increase in anti-east Asian racism and physical attacks.

“It is vital that all progressive forces oppose this racism with the same energy they oppose all other forms of racism.”

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