Quarter of people have witnessed hate crime, poll suggests

Poster advertising a Holocaust memorial event in east London daubed with graffiti including the words "liars" and "killer" Image copyright PA
Image caption More than 3,000 events are taking place across the UK to mark this year's memorial day

More than a quarter of people in the UK have witnessed a hate crime in the last year, a new poll suggests.

Of the 2,007 people polled 27% had seen a hate crime, with 20% witnessing abuse based on religion and 25% on race or ethnicity.

The questionnaire was carried out by Censuswide to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday.

More than 3,000 events are taking place across the UK to mark the event, which has taken place each year since 2001.

Ceremonies are also being held around the world, including at former death camp Auschwitz, which was liberated 71 years ago.

In separate figures, the Everyday Antisemitism Project - a scheme where Jewish people share experiences of discrimination - reported a surge in submissions, with 303 received in the last three months of 2015, compared to a monthly average of 32 in the preceding 14 months.

'Speak out'

Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, which commissioned the questionnaire, said: "The theme for the thousands of Holocaust Memorial Day events taking place across the country today is 'Don't stand by', and these figures show just how important that message is.

"Today is about remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, but it's also about finding ways to make sure they can never happen again.

"We know that silence and indifference in the face of discrimination and hatred allows persecution to take root, so we want to encourage people to stand up and speak out, in the way many brave souls have in the past."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Of the hate crime witnessed, 28% took place online

The most common form of hate crime reported was verbal abuse.

Of the incidents witnessed 28% were online on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

More than three quarters of those asked [77%] said there was no difference between bullying or "trolling" someone online and shouting abuse at them in the street.

Some 300 people polled said they had been victim of a hate crime, with 61% saying no-one intervened while the incident was happening.

Censuswide surveyed the over-16s in Britain between 2 and 7 December last year.

Holocaust Memorial Day also remembers atrocities in countries such as Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda.

The main UK memorial ceremony will take place at the Guildhall in London and will be broadcast on BBC Two at 19:00 GMT.

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