SARI is a charity that provides support and advice to victims of hate crime, and promotes equality and good relations between all communities. We were established in 1988, but began operating as we do today (albeit on a much smaller scale) in 1991.
Today we have become accepted as a pioneering model for undertaking hate crime work. Our single largest activity is our casework service. Totally free and confidential, this service is for victims of any type of hate crime. Basically, we will do all we can for each victim that comes to us to resolve what is happening to them so they can live their lives in peace.
We also offer advocacy to victims of any type of crime where they need support coping with the criminal justice system via the AVoice advocacy service.
Our area of operation covers Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and most recently, Somerset.
We have also developed a broader action strategy which includes educational work, preventative work, and multi-agency work to combat hate crime and discrimination. Today we employ over 20 staff and our annual caseload is over 500 cases.
SARI staff have direct experience of dealing with hate motivated behaviour and all staff have a clear understanding of and commitment to the objectives of SARI.
The Board of Trustees, most of whom have personal experience of hate crime and inequality, are responsible for approving SARI’s working policies and procedures.
Over 25 years on, SARI continues to be an autonomous user-led charity. We endeavour to ensure that our staff team and management committee reflects the diverse communities they serve and that they demonstrate a clear understanding of hate crime and its implications.
We also work consistently to improve the interaction between ourselves and other agencies involved in the fight against hate crime.
We continue to provide our casework service for free and are a non-profit making, non-political and non-campaigning organisation.
When it comes to fighting hate crime, the most important thing is simply to report it. After that anything you can do to tackle the offenders makes a difference so long as you use the right systems. This can be hard, can mean lobbying agencies such as the police or landlords so they do what they are supposed to do. It also means patience and strength. So, get help so you aren’t on your own. We can help keep you safe. Even if you don’t want to take action, still report it so we can clock where it is happening and who to. We can do operations with the police and authorities to tackle incidents without the victims. Everyone in the community can help by looking out for hate crime and reporting it or helping to educate people who have negative attitudes. Be a proactive citizen!
We’ve produced a short guide on how to recognise hate crime, and what to do when you find yourself a victim or a witness of hate crime.
- If someone is in immediate danger, call the police on 999
- Only intervene if it is safe to do so
- Record what has happened (whether via video, pictures, or by writing it down)
- Report it to SARI (0117 942 0060) or the police (101) for further advice, information or support
Ashley Challice and Brad Paul’s story.
We met with Brad and Ashley, both 21 from Bridgwater, both openingly gay and in a relationship together, in fact, they told us they were engaged.
Brad came out to his family 3 years ago and they have been really supportive, however, he is getting abusive messages, he has a number of health issues, including ADHD and autism with Ashley as his carer.
Ashley came out to friends when he was 17 and his family, 3 months ago, he said “my dad and auntie are very supportive” but since coming out he has been getting homophobic comments from ‘friends’ and also family.
Ashley showed us the messages he has been getting from various people via Facebook but because of the content we are not able to share here, but to say it was hurtful, is an understatement.
We asked them how it made them feel. Both replied “no confidence, angry, upset and different.”
Different? Who has the right to to make people feel different?
Brad told us they are not ashamed, in fact he tells people “we’re gay, get over it’.
When asked who can help if anyone is suffering with hate crime, Ashley said “don’t suffer alone and stay strong.
“Call the police, and speak to a hate crime officer and also call Sari on 0117 942 0060. They have been a godsend and have been a big help to us.
If you are suffering, please don’t suffer alone, no matter whether the hate crime is about sexuality, religion or gender, please get help, you are not alone.