A message from Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright
Our diverse and multicultural community is one of our State’s greatest strengths. The Victorian community collectively comes from over 200 countries, speaks more than 230 languages and dialects, and follows 135 faiths. It is an honour to serve such a rich and diverse community that so many Victorians are proud of.
Sadly, I have seen unacceptable reports of crimes and incidents motivated by prejudice, discrimination and racism occurring in our community.
Crimes that are motivated by prejudice take many forms. Some include physical assault, damage to property, harassment, verbal or written abuse, threats or offensive graffiti. In whatever form it takes, this is a very serious crime and should be reported to police.
Last year there were reports of women who were assaulted on public transport for wearing a Hijab. Some women have been a victim of this, some have witnessed it, and others may simply fear that it will happen to them.
When incidents like these are reported to police, we are able to thoroughly investigate and make every attempt to hold offenders accountable. In many cases offenders have been charged and prosecuted.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure in the community. This includes when practising their faith and pursuing their values, beliefs and interests. If a person chooses to wear a Hijab, Habit, Burqa, Turban, Yamaka or any other faith attire, it is a choice that should be respected as it is their democratic right to do so.
Prejudice, discrimination and racism do not belong in the Victorian community. The diversity and multiculturalism of Victoria needs to be protected.
I understand some members of the community may feel afraid to report this type of crime or may simply believe that Victoria Police won’t take it seriously. I can assure you, we do take these crimes and incidents very seriously.
I have reiterated across the organisation for our members to identify, address and respond to any crimes or incidents that are motivated by prejudice. We are here to help. If you are victim or a witness, inform Victoria Police.
We investigate all reports and make every attempt to hold offenders accountable. Our message to the community is that no one should be afraid to report a crime.
Tim Cartwright APM
Acting Chief Commissioner
[alert color=”C21D11″ icon=”128227″]If you are in an emergency dial 000 immediately. If you are a victim please contact your local police station or you can call Crime Stoppers confidentially on 1800 333 000. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure crimes motivated by prejudice are brought to the attention of Victoria Police and that all Victorians are accepting of cultural diversity. [/alert]