SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — A new Speak-Out Hotline has been launched to protect people from race and religion-based harassment intimidation and abuse in Australia’s most populous state New South Wales (NSW).
The NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said the new hotline, which will be operated by the NSW Police Call Centre (PoliceLink) in conjunction with Multicultural NSW, would make it easier for people in NSW to report incidents of race or religion-based abuse.
“The new direct phone line will enable everyone in the community to speak out about physical or verbal incidents of race or religion-based abuse and to seek assistance from the appropriate authorities,” NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said.
“This is about ensuring accurate records on the prevalence of alleged racial abuse are maintained. Having the service within PoliceLink will ensure criminal matters are attended to appropriately and non-criminal matters are referred to Multicultural NSW to be logged.
“The NSW Government will not stand by while fellow citizens are being targeted for insult because of their beliefs, their skin colour or their choice of dress.
“I encourage people to call the Speak-Out line, even if they are only witnesses to an incident. We will ensure their concern is directed to the right arm of government, be it Police or Multicultural NSW.”
Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello said NSW Police and Multicultural NSW had work together closely to develop the hotline to ensure there is a simple process in place for reporting and documenting any race and religion-based attacks.
“In NSW we can be proud to live in a society which is overwhelmingly harmonious but like all societies, racial and religious prejudices do exist and we must be ever-vigilant to stamp them out.
“The hotline will help to provide better data about the prevalence of public racial abuse and will inform the way government agencies target resources to combating racism and crime.
“I pay tribute to the work of Multicultural NSW which has partnered with NSW Police to put this initiative into action. We must all stand by our fellow citizens and protect our unique and harmonious way of life. Multicultural NSW is here to listen and respond.”
The Multicultural NSW Speak-Out Line is 1800 131 555. The number will be operation 24/7 and where appropriate telephone interpreters will be engaged to help people to access the service.
Further information can be found at: http://www.crc.nsw.gov.au/home