A new campaign and comic book resource to tackle hate crime, targeted at young people, has been launched today.

‘Speak Up’ is a new resource created by YouthLink Scotland as part of the Action on Prejudice programme and was unveiled at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station during a special Day of Action with British Transport Police in partnership with Action on Prejudice.

It’s a young person’s guide to standing up to hate crime, whenever they witness it, and also encourages young people to ‘Mind Your Nana’ by challenging their family on prejudice and offensive language.

Launch of new comic book resource encourages young people to stand up to hate crime
Ciara MacDonald; Roseanna Campbell; Ollie Canavan and Cian Gullen

The resource is designed to help young people safely intervene in situations where someone is the target of hate behaviour, it encourages them to be an Active Bystander and not just sit back and ignore. It’s aimed at 11-to-16-year-olds but can also be used as a training resource for teachers, peer educators and youth workers.

Using a comic book style, created by illustrator, Steven Ingram, the resource presents young people with different ways to intervene if they witness a situation that may be a hate crime or incident and information on the different ways to report hate crime. The resource also addresses intergenerational issues and online hate.

Recent research shows that only 20% of young people feel confident enough to speak up when someone else is being verbally harassed.

The key message for Scotland’s young people is: ‘Don’t normalise everyday hate, take action’. 

The campaign encourages youngsters to speak up for someone and visibly take a stand against hate by assessing the risk and using the 5 Ds’: Direct, Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, to challenge harassment and verbal abuse.

Commenting, Sarah Robinson Galloway, Senior Development Officer, YouthLink Scotland said:

“YouthLink Scotland are pleased to launch the new Speak Up resource. We hope that it will support more young people to become active bystanders and help to build a society that does not tolerate hate of any kind. By supporting young people to be active bystanders we demonstrate that tackling hate is the responsibility of all and that as one Scottish community we can move forward and end everyday hate.”

Barry Boffy, British Transport Police Head of Inclusion and Diversity said:

“Hate crimes on the rail network are fortunately few and far between however more can always be done to keep victims safeguarded and ensure witnesses are better aware of how to report crimes if they see them. If you witness a hate crime you can discreetly text British Transport Police on 61016.

“We’re pleased to support organisations like YouthLink Scotland to help tackle hate crime on trains and at stations across Scotland. This day of action is an excellent example of how young people, the police, and rail staff, can stand together to ensure offenders are very aware that their behaviour is never welcome.”

Launch of new comic book resource encourages young people to stand up to hate crime
Cian Gullen; Ollie Canavan; Ciara MacDonald; Roseanna Campbell; Sarah Robinson Galloway and British Transport Police

For more information on the Speak Up resource visit the portal: www.actiononprejudice.info.