New comic book encourages young people to stand up to hate crime

A comic book urging young people to stand up to hate crime has been launched as part of a new campaign.

The book, titled Speak Up, is designed to help young people safely intervene in situations where someone is the target of hate behaviour and encourages them to be an “active bystander”.

It also encourages young people to “Mind Your Nana” by challenging their family on prejudice and offensive language.

The resource, created by YouthLink Scotland as part of the Action on Prejudice programme, is aimed at 11 to 16-year-olds but can also be used as a training resource for teachers, peer educators and youth workers.

Hate crime book
The book encourages young people not to ignore hate crime (YouthLink Scotland/PA)

Sarah Robinson Galloway, senior development officer at YouthLink Scotland, said: “YouthLink Scotland are pleased to launch the new Speak Up resource. We hope that it will support more young people to become active bystanders and help to build a society that does not tolerate hate of any kind.

“By supporting young people to be active bystanders we demonstrate that tackling hate is the responsibility of all and that as one Scottish community we can move forwards and end everyday hate.”

The book, illustrated by Steven Ingram, shows different ways young people can intervene if they witness a situation that may be a hate crime and information on the different ways to report it, and also addresses inter-generational issues and online hate.

The campaign encourages youngsters to speak up for someone and visibly take a stand against hate by assessing the risk and using the 5 Ds’: Direct, Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, to challenge harassment and verbal abuse.

The book was unveiled at Waverley Station in Edinburgh during a special Day of Action with British Transport Police in partnership with Action on Prejudice.

Barry Boffy, British Transport Police head of inclusion and diversity, said: “Hate crimes on the rail network are fortunately few and far between however more can always be done to keep victims safeguarded and ensure witnesses are better aware of how to report crimes if they see them. If you witness a hate crime you can discreetly text British Transport Police on 61016.

“We’re pleased to support organisations like YouthLink Scotland to help tackle hate crime on trains and at stations across Scotland.

“This day of action is an excellent example of how young people, the police, and rail staff, can stand together to ensure offenders are very aware that their behaviour is never welcome.”

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