Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Latest plans for Sophie Foundation - New Hate Crimes centers in Cheshire

Foundation in memory of Sophie Lancaster
Lancashire Telegraph, UK -18 May 2008

A CHARITABLE foundation is being set up in memory of murdered Sophie Lancaster.

The charity will seek to help educate professionals such as the police and teachers about subcultures.

It will also continue the campaign to make the definition of a hate crime include offences motivated by appearance.

Sophie, 20, died last August after being set upon as she cradled her boyfriend Robert Maltby who had been attacked in Stubbylee Park, Bacup.

The pair - former Haslingden High School pupils - had been targeted by a gang of youths because they were dressed as goths.

Sophie's attackers Ryan Herbert, 16, and Brendan Harris, 15, both from Bacup, were jailed for life last month for her murder.

Sophie's mother Sylvia hopes the Sophie Lancaster Foundation will be a lasting legacy to her daughter.

The foundation will be accessible by professionals including teachers and police, to educate children and others about subcultures.

It will also be used as training provider and as a stepping stone for social lobbying to get a change in the law regarding the definition of hate crime.

A website, which will incorporate Sophie's MySpace site and information about the SOPHIE campaign, will be used to promote the foundation.

It will also include artwork, poetry and music that people have dedicated to Sophie.

The charities commission has been contacted.

Syliva has been in contact with Lancashire Youth Service about setting up workshops to educate young people about subcultures.

Interesting to note this news report mentions the SOPHIE hate crimes campaign.

Peter Fahy wants to encourage reporting of hate crime
BBC News,

Police in Cheshire are setting up more than 40 centres for victims to report hate crimes.

The centres will be set up within support group bases, citizens' advice bureaux, council and housing offices, schools and universities....

Hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by an offender's hatred of someone because of their race, colour, religion, gender, sexuality or disability.

Mr Fahy added: "It is important to say that hate crime is not just about race. It is about people who are marked out to be different and are targeted because of this.

"One issue that is increasing is crime against disabled people or those with learning difficulties."

A campaign is under way to extend the definition of hate crime after the murder of Sophie Lancaster in a Lancashire park last year.

She was targeted because she was dressed as a Goth.

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