New resource will raise awareness of online hate crime

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THE Government of BC, in partnership with the BC Hate Crimes Team and Abbotsford Community Services, will develop a creative educational campaign and resource to raise awareness about online hate crime, Teresa Wat, Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, announced on Friday.

This resource will provide online education and awareness about racial and religiously motivated hate crimes, including information about what constitutes a hate crime and how to report a hate crime. It will have a Web-based component and may also include print material.

Abbotsford Community Services was awarded the contract through a Request-For-Proposal from EmbraceBC. With a budget that will not exceed $150,000, the resource will be made available to the public no later than March 1, 2014.

A hate crime is defined as a criminal offence motivated by hate towards an identifiable group. According to Statistics Canada, the primary motive of over half (54 per cent) of all incidents of hate crime in Canada is race or ethnicity. The second-highest motivation is religion (29 per cent). Reports of hate crime in Canada have increased each year since tracking began in 2006.

Incidents of hate crimes that occur online through email, social media or other engagement platforms account for an increasing number of hate crimes reported, often because of a sense of anonymity that perpetrators may feel that they have.

Communities in British Columbia are increasingly culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse with immigrants now accounting for approximately 27 per cent of the population and an additional five per cent made up of indigenous Aboriginal populations.

Fighting hate and bias crime effectively relies on partnerships. The response to this growing problem cannot be made by law enforcement agencies alone.

Government, police, community organizations and individuals must be committed to working together to stem hatred in society.

The purpose of EmbraceBC public education is to engage the public around issues of racism, multiculturalism and inclusion, and to facilitate awareness and understanding of the social, cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity across British Columbia.

Abbotsford Community Services is a large social-service agency that fosters community well-being and social justice through positive action and leadership.

The B.C. Hate Crime Team was created in 1996 with a mandate to ensure the effective identification, investigation and prosecution of crimes motivated by hate.