VICTIMS of hate crime can now report their experiences without speaking to police.

Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said she believes victims do not always report the matter directly to the force, which means the true number of hate crimes in North Yorkshire is unknown.

To combat this, she has given authorisation to the Supporting Victims organisation to record details of hate crime, so victims do not have to deal with police.

Mrs Mulligan said: "Working with the ‘Supporting Victims’ service to record and provide support for hate crime victims is the latest in a long line of changes to make sure residents are safe and supported at the most difficult of times.

"Hate crime has been chronically under-reported across the country for years, and North Yorkshire is no different. While many may believe the problem is not a serious one here, I believe the opposite is true. We have less diversity in our county than in many police force areas which may lead to some individuals and communities feeling particularly isolated. We need to encourage them to come forward, report the crime they have been a victim of and get the support they need and deserve."

It is not yet clear whether the number of hate crimes reported to Supporting Victims would be revealed in the same way reports to police forces are announced.

Staff at Supporting Victims are trained to deal with victims of crime, offer emotional and practical support over the phone, and can refer callers to specialist advisers for face to face support.

Claire Gallier, from the organisation, said: "Hate crimes are often not reported because the victim feels trapped and alone. The truth is, they can happen to anybody and there is always a way forward.

"We can help you understand what is happening and guide you to specialist organisations who will support you moving forward. Our service is independent from policing and you can come to us directly; you don’t have to report a crime to the police to receive support."

To report a hate crime, phone Supporting Victims on 01609 643100, North Yorkshire Police on 101, or go to