The 24-hour Stop Hate UK Helpline service is being launched in Wandsworth.

The line gives people directly affected by hate crime, and witnesses to hate crime, a safe and independent place to talk about their experiences and to explore their options for how to take things further.

Stop Hate UK is working with Wandsworth Council to introduce the helpline. The council works with partners to drive out hate crime, encourage people to report it and offer support to people affected by it.

Robyn Thomas, head of community safety for Wandsworth Council said: “We are determined to make Wandsworth a safe borough for everyone and work with partners to do all we can to stamp out a crime that has such a devastating effect on victims, families and communities.

“One of the most effective ways of stopping hate crime is to ensure all incidents are reported, which is why we are delighted to be working with Stop Hate UK to support people to speak out.”

Stop Hate UK is a national charity that provides independent and confidential support to people who are affected by all forms of Hate Crime. Rose Simkins, Chief Executive of Stop Hate UK, said: “All forms of Hate Crime are significantly under-reported and some individuals, people and communities are reluctant or unwilling to talk to the police or their council.

“We are able to support people who feel they have nowhere else to turn. Contact with our helpline, or other reporting channels, might be the first time an individual has talked to someone about the things they are experiencing. Other people may have tried to get help but find they are not satisfied with the response they received. No one should have to suffer Hate Crime in silence. Sadly the occurrence of Hate Crime has increased nationally but, working together with the council, statutory and community bodies, we can help to make a difference in Wandsworth.”

People can contact the Stop Hate UK helpline anonymously if they prefer. Where someone has chosen to give their personal details to Stop Hate UK, their trained staff and volunteers will ask who they want their details to be shared with. The charity can also share information with the police and council, with consent, to ensure that those affected by Hate Crime, in any way, can access the support they need.

Anyone in Wandsworth can contact the Stop Hate UK helpline to talk about how they have been directly or indirectly affected by Hate Crime.

The Stop Hate UK helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year on 0800 138 1625. The helpline is also available by text message on 07717 989 025 and by email to talk@stophateuk.org. Service users with Hearing Impairments can report via interactive BSL by clicking the link on our website www.stophateuk.org. Victims and witnesses can also chat on the web or fill in an online form by visiting www.stophateuk.org/talk.