SHOCKING figures have revealed a 73 per cent rise in recorded race hate crimes against children in West Yorkshire.

According to data gathered by children’s charity the NSPCC through Freedom of Information requests, the figure in the region stood at 245 in 2015/16, 387 in 2016/17, rising to 423 in 2017/18.

That was higher than in both South and North Yorkshire.

In the region as a whole, police forces recorded a total of 557 offences in 2017/18 - a rise of 57 per cent from the 354 offences recorded back in 2015/16.

On a national level, the picture is no different.

Latest figures show there were 10,571 offences flagged by police as race hate crimes against children - an average of almost 29 a day across the UK.

That’s a rise of nearly 22 per cent from 8,683 in 2015/16.

The charity has said its FOI requests revealed children yet to reach their first birthday were among victims.

Over the eight years that I’ve volunteered as a counsellor, it is just as heartbreaking every single time a child tells you they wish they looked different.

- Childline counsellor Atiyah Wazir

And it says children have told the NSPCC-run service Childline they were being targeted because of the way they looked, and reported being told to “go back to their own country”. Some tried to change their appearance by using make up, while others said they did not want to tell their parents for fear of upsetting them.

Childline counsellor Atiyah Wazir said: “Over the eight years that I’ve volunteered as a counsellor it is just as heartbreaking every single time a child tells you they wish they looked different.

“These children have been made to feel shame and guilt and sometimes daren’t tell their mums or dads about it because they don’t want to worry or hurt their feelings.

“I want every child to know that this bullying is not ok, they have nothing to be ashamed of, and Childline is always here to listen.”


Head of Childline John Cameron said: “Childhood bullying of this nature can cause long term emotional harm to children and can create further divisions in our society.

“If we see a child bullying another because of their race we need to tackle it head on, by explaining that it’s not ok and how hurtful it is.

“I would urge any child who is being targeted because of their race to contact Childline, and any adult to call the Helpline if they are worried about a child.”

Childline held 2,617 counselling sessions about race and faith-based bullying between 2015/16 and 2017/18. Girls were more likely to speak to Childline than boys, and the most common age group to get in touch about the issue was children aged 12-15.

Hate crime is defined in England and Wales as “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic”.

Last month, it was announced that a review into hate crime in the Bradford district would take place, stemming from a meeting of the Council's Corporate Scrutiny Committee in December, where members raised the issue with police.

Once the review is complete, a report on the prevalence of hate crime in Bradford will be released with a series of recommendations on how the Council and its partners can deal with it.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: “Hate crime and incidents have been one of the focuses of the PCC and West Yorkshire Police for a number of years. These instances will never be tolerated, especially when involving children and young people.

“The Police and Crime Commissioner has worked with the police and partners to run awareness raising campaigns to encourage reporting of incidents and offences as well as channelling resources into support organisations and initiatives, such as the innovative Stop Hate UK smart phone reporting app.

“Support for victims has always been a priority for the PCC and an increased impetus has been placed on the needs of younger people. Victim Support, who are commissioned by the PCC, now offer assistance to under 18s who can self-refer as well as take advantage of an online live chat system. 

“West Yorkshire Police have also worked hard to ensure accurate and complete crime recording and this will have impacted the figures for our area.  This work has recently attracted an HMICFRS (Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) grading of outstanding and ensures the best support to victims.

“We would always urge anyone who believes they have been a victim of a hate incident or crime, or knows of a young person that needs support, to contact the police or any of the numerous third party support organisations, details of which can be found on our website or by contacting the office on 01924 294000.”

West Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable Angela Williams added: ​“Hate crime of any form has no place in society and I understand the public will be concerned that any such abuse would be directed at young people. I would like to emphasise that when any person is victim of such a crime, it is reported promptly so that we can take all reasonable actions to investigate any offences and bring those offenders responsible to justice.

“West Yorkshire Police has undertaken significant amounts of work with our partner agencies to tackle hate crime and we will continue this work to ensure all incidents of reported hate crime are investigated thoroughly.

“Earlier this month West Yorkshire Police was independently assessed on Crime Data Integrity and, following an intrusive review by HMICFRS, the Force was one of only two polices forces nationally, graded as ‘outstanding’ for its victim focused crime recording.

“An outcome of this victim focus crime recording means we are recording greater volumes of crime but we are confident that our figures demonstrate an ethical and transparent crime recording culture. By having accurate crime statistics the Force can truly understand demand and vulnerability within our communities and this enables us to deploy and prioritise our resources effectively and efficiently.

“Hate crime not only affects the initial victim but can also have a ripple effect in the wider community, making people feel unsafe and anxious. We know hate crime has traditionally been under-reported and it is vital that victims and witnesses feel confident in reporting offences, whether that is directly to the police or to another agency.”