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Council and Communities Take A Stand

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Communities First are leading the way when it comes to challenging stereotypes, hate crime and negative attitudes in the community.

The authority and each of the  eight Communities First clusters in the county borough are supporting charity Stonewall Cymru’s #NoBystanders campaign and staff have undergone important training and awareness initiatives to ensure they can help support and encourage respect.

Pledges have been signed and will be displayed in offices and work now continues to get as many residents and community groups and organisations to also sign up, increase their awareness and help tackle discrimination and hate crime in our communities.

Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Equalities and the Council’s Equalities lead and Cllr Keiron Montague, Cabinet Member for Service Delivery, Communities and Housing, who has responsibility for Communities First, joined Communities First staff to take the pledge.

Cllr Keiron Montague said: “Discrimination and hate crime are issues that can affect anyone in our communities, whether it is related to their age, their gender, their sexuality, a disability or their cultural/religious background.

“Because hate crime can cause isolation, those suffering as a result are often hard to reach and engage with, so it is important we work at a grass roots level to identify and support people.

“Bringing each and every Communities First cluster on board to join us in the #NoBystanders campaign allows us to work at that grassroots issue.

“The campaign is as much about raising awareness among the general population about the impact their words, jokes, comments or sayings could be having on others as it is about encouraging those affected by hate crime to come forward.”

Cllr Hopkins added: “Dignity and respect are rights reserved for everyone who lives and works in RCT but, unfortunately, discrimination, harassment and hate crime can happen in our communities.

“Often, people are not aware that they are victims of – or perpetrators of – hate crime, so our first move is to raise awareness and make it clear it is not alright and there is help on hand for those who need it.

“Hate crime and discrimination is often brushed under the carpet as a “bit of banter” or as lack of understanding. But the bottom line is, for those who experience it, it can make them feel humiliated, isolated and ashamed.

“We have raised our awareness and undertaken dignity and respect training to ensure we are in the best-possible position to take a stand.

“Now we are encouraging as many other people as possible to also take a stand and ensure they raise their own knowledge and awareness and pledge not to be bystanders when it comes to addressing the hate crime issues that could harm our communities.”

Find out more via the new Respect magazine, which gives a useful insight into hate crime, the impact it can have and how to get involved.