PEOPLE in Oldham are being encouraged to speak up and take a stand during National Hate Crime Awareness Week, which runs from Saturday (October 10 to 17).

Hate crime is an act of violence or hostility that is directed at a person or group because of who they are or what they think they are.

It comes in many different forms such as physical attacks, a threat of attack and verbal abuse or insults, and anyone can be affected by such incidents.

Oldham Council chiefs say hate crime has increased during the pandemic and incidents may have gone unreported - meaning residents are suffering in silence.

And they say this is why people who have been victims or witnesses to a hate crime should report it.

Cllr Amanda Chadderton, who is responsible for community safety as part of her portfolio as cabinet member for human resources and corporate reform, said: “The last six months has shown Oldham is at its best when we all pull together.

“We don’t want to let hate divide us.

“Everyone has the right to go about their lives without the fear of being abused, threatened or attacked just because of who they are.

“We’ve all got a responsibility to do our bit and stand up to hatred. By doing so we’ll show our support for the victims and hopefully help put an end to their suffering.”

Cllr Arooj Shah, deputy leader of Oldham Council and cabinet member for Covid-19 response, said: “All our communities have been through a lot recently and sadly racism, prejudice and hate have crept up in recent weeks. We are seeing comments on our social media feeds and we are hearing of incidents of abuse on our streets.

“It’s unacceptable and we will not tolerate it. We will take action when we see it and we urge others to do the same.

“If you have been a victim of any type of hate crime please report it to the police. We cannot let people ‘get away with it’. The people who spread hate do not represent the vast majority of Oldhamers.”

If you have been affected by a hate crime, even if you’re unsure that you’ve been a victim, call in an emergency 999 and in a non-emergency call 101 or go to a nearby police station and report it.

Extra support is available for people who wish not to contact the police or for those who need extra support. This can be accessed at the Stop Hate Helpline - 0800 138 1625 - a free confidential 24-hour hate crime reporting service.

For more information on hate crime please visit or call the Victim Support Services helpline: 0161 200 1950, Text Relay, 18002 0161 200 1950.