Scare tactics

September 30, 2005

It was disappointing to read the inaccurate reporting of Victim Support's hate crime research project in Frank Furedi's article "Be afraid, be very afraid... no don't" (September 16).

The main aims of the hate crime research project are to examine the support needs of victims of hate crime and to develop a national framework for supporting local communities at risk of hate crime. These aims were omitted from Furedi's article but were clearly stated in our announcement on August 10.

Victim Support has more than 30 years' experience of helping victims of all types of crime. We are aware of hate crime, defined as "criminal conduct motivated by prejudice", as a steadily growing phenomenon. Our staff and volunteers are supporting victims of such crimes and need to know more about how to support victims effectively and how to combat further victimisation.

Furedi did not speak to me about the project. Nor did he seek to clarify his interpretations with my colleagues who are involved in the project. Instead, he made his own assumptions, pre-determining that our research findings "will demonstrate that there is an epidemic whose impact is little short of devastating".

Strong words and scare mongering indeed, but not words from Victim Support.

Peter Dunn, head of research and development, Victim Support

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