Police boss to host women only crime forum

A FORUM, which aims to give women from minority ethnic and faith communities the chance to share their experiences of hate crime and other safety concerns, is taking place this month.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Essex is hosting a women-only coffee morning on Saturday November 22.

Taking place at the Grays Community Hall, the event aims to attract women from a range of minority ethnic and faith communities to hear their experiences and concerns around hate crime and other forms of abuse they or their families may have suffered. They will also have the opportunity to suggest how the police and other public services can better support them as victims.

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, will briefly attend the event to speak to those present but will leave shortly after, as the forum is for women-only. The meeting has been organised in this way in the hope of providing a comfortable and reassuring environment for those attending.

The forum is being hosted by Gwanwyn Mason, Assistant Director for Engagement at the OPCC, and will also feature female experts from Faith Matters – a national organisation challenging hate crime and countering extremism – and the New Generation Development agency – a local group specialising in community development, mediation and hate crime prevention and education.

Nick Alston, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex said: "Many of our partners from faith and ethnic minority communities in the county are telling us that they have increasing concerns about the prevalence of hate crime, and that, very often, it is women who are the victims.

"Any form of abuse directed at anyone because of their faith, race, gender, disability or any other personal characteristic is totally unacceptable in our society, and will not be tolerated.

"However, we firstly need to understand the needs of victims in these incidents in order to ensure Essex Police and all our community safety partners are providing the most appropriate support.

"Although I will be leaving the event shortly after it opens, I very much look forward to hearing what is discussed and am grateful to our partners from Faith Matters and the New Generation Development Agency for their support in delivering this.”

Women from all minority ethnic and faith communities from across Essex, as well as the local community in Thurrock, are encouraged to attend and share their experiences. The names and details of all those attending will be kept confidential.

The event will begin at 10.30am on Saturday November 22 at the Grays Community Hall, 64 Maidstone Road, Grays, RM17 6NF. Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be served.

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