A FAMILY have been left 'traumatised' following a racially motivated hate crime in South Belfast.
On Saturday morning a member of Belfast Asian Women’s Academy (BAWA) found her husband’s car wing mirror had been damaged. A traffic cone had been placed on top of the car and the side of the vehicle was scratched.
The family have been subjected to previous incidents of abuse including having eggs and bags containing rubbish thrown at and into the house.
BAWA is made up of women from Asia who have now made Belfast their home. The organisation run sporting and cultural projects in their spare time in conjunction with local women’s groups to promote a shared experience. The group also provide scrubs to the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and food and other donations to homeless and vulnerable families.
Speaking on behalf of BAWA, Ana Chandran said that she is deeply concerned with the handling of the matter by PSNI.
“Hate crime can impact the victims' emotional and mental well-being and I am disappointed that our member did not get the right support she needed at the time,” said Ana.
“If incidents of hate crimes are reported to the PSNI and they are not taken seriously, trust is eroded and this is difficult to rebuild.
“Our member and her children are now traumatised by these events, frightened to go out of the house and is currently receiving support from BAWA. Questions have to be asked.
“What has to happen to ensure these unprovoked racist attacks cease? Is this just another 'incident'? Another statistic? What can be done to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”
Andy George, President of the National Black Police Association, says he will be raising the incident with the PSNI Service Lead for Hate Crime.
He said: "The Police Service NI must be aware of the impact and isolation ethnic minority communities feel when targeted repeatedly due to their race. Race hate crime continues to be the highest hate crime category and tackling it must remain a priority for the service."
A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Police received a report of criminal damage caused to a vehicle parked in a residential area of south Belfast on Saturday morning, 18th March. Police have spoken to the victim in this case on a number of occasions since then.
“When an incident or crime has been reported to police by the victim or by any other person and they perceive it as being motivated by prejudice or hate, it will be recorded and investigated as a hate incident or crime. Reporting incidents helps the police service to identify areas of concern, patterns of behaviour, and may assist in identifying and prosecuting offenders. We strongly encourage victims to continue to report incidents so that we can take action to prevent further escalation.”