Image: Safety NetThose at Safety Net are continuing their pioneering work in raising awareness and providing training about hate crime and mate crime and have recently appeared on two radio stations.

David, along with Michael and Sarah who both have a learning disability, spoke to Phoenix Radio in Calderdale while Rod spoke to Heart Radio in Barnstaple.

In the Phoenix Radio interview David, Michael and Sarah talk about what mate crime is and the importance of making people aware of their human rights and how mate crime is wrong. Sarah talks about the ‘Thursday friend,’ which is where, “They only come when they want to spend your benefit money.”

David describes how the Safety Net project began: “We heard lots of stories from providers of services telling us about hate crime and mate crime but a lot of services were not picking up on these crimes until it was too late.”

In extreme cases, reported on in the national media, some people have been murdered as a result of mate crime. These, alongside the every day cases, highlighted a dire need for awareness throughout the public, sector and potential victims.

Sarah and Michael deliver the training with David to people with learning disabilities, service providers, personal assistants and friends and family. It is common where they want to keep the people they care for safe but avoid going down the official route to report such crimes.

Michael said: “We have to raise awareness and make them [the bully] aware of what they are doing.”

Rod gave a shorter interview on Heart Radio. He starts the piece talking about the origin of Safety Net and goes on to talk about the more local incidences he came across while working for ARC.

He said: “We decided we’d try and establish good practice in two areas first.” Since the start of Safety Net the group have made many resources available for free through the Safety Net website alongside providing the training and raising awareness. Earlier in the year they marched through Barnstaple as a more direct and public approach.

The project is now, however, into the last 12 months of funding so they are starting to look at the dissemination of it and on to rolling out the practical outcomes. Rod said that during the last six months they plan to focus on direct training with people that have learning disabilities and ‘Friend or Fake’ training. He said: “They’re tricky messages we’re trying to get out…we don’t want to scare people but to make them aware.”

Both interviews were great opportunities to tell listeners about the impact and the consequences of mate crime, a form of hate crime not widely known about but widely experienced.