Residents from across Manchester are being asked about their experiences of hate crime as part of plans to crack down on the problem.
Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police have invited a wide range of organisations, including religious institutions, disability groups and groups representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, to a special event held at Manchester Town Hall on Monday 18 June.
Around 200 people are attending the event, also organised by the Crown Prosecution Services, including representatives from churches, mosques and synagogues across Manchester.
People involved in refugees’ groups, schools and housing trusts whose members have had experience of hate crime, have also been invited.
Participants will be asked questions about their experiences of hate crime and how they think the police and council should deal with the issue.
They will also be asked whether or not they have ever reported any incidents of hate crime – such as attacks, verbal abuse or graffiti being daubed near their homes – and how well it was dealt with at the time.
Residents attending the event will also watch video interviews with people who have experienced racist or homophobic hate crime in Manchester.
This information will be used to help the police and City Council find out more about the problem in Manchester and draw up a detailed plan to deal with the issue.
Cllr Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said: "Manchester residents or people who visit the city should never have to tolerate any form of hate crime, but if the City Council and the police are going to deal with these vile offences properly, it’s vital we fully understand these crimes.
"That’s why we’re asking residents to come forward during this event and tell us about their experiences. Hate crime comes in many forms and can be carried out against many different groups, and so we’re inviting as wide a range of people as possible to talk to us.”
Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson, Greater Manchester Police, said: "Greater Manchester Police is here to protect all members of the community and bring to justice those who victimise others simply due to their perceived differences. Hate crime has a potentially devastating impact on a victim’s life but we all have a right to live our lives in dignity and peace.
"This conference is the latest joint initiative to help improve our understanding of hate crime and will focus on developing new ways for people to be able to report incidents, including third party reporting centres. Working with members of our communities we hope to be able to use their views and opinions to help further improve the level of service to victims.”