Recorded race hate crimes against children rise by 300pc in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 06:35 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:07 30 May 2019
Race hate crimes recorded against children rose by more than 300pc over a three-year period in Norfolk, new figures have shown.
There were 71 offences flagged by Norfolk Police as race hate crimes against children in 2017/18, up from 17 in 2015/16, which is a rise of 318pc.
A Freedom of Information request by the NSPCC also found that the youngest victim in Norfolk was aged just four years old.
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 okay and how hurtful it is.
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"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."
Across the UK there were 10,571 offences in 2017/18, an average of almost 29 a day, which was up from 8,683 in 2015/16 and 9,752 in 2016/17.
Norfolk saw the biggest rise between 2015/16 and 2017/18 in the East of England region and also had a year-on-year increase of 31pc from 54 to 71.
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 dare not 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 okay, they have nothing to be ashamed of, and Childline is always here to listen."
In England and Wales, hate crime is defined 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."