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Baby and OAP, 87, are victims of hate crime, say police.

Byline: Huw Silk and Claire Miller Reporters newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

ACHILD less than one year old was among the victims of hate crime in Wales last year, exclusive new information has revealed. The youngster, from the Torfaen region of South East Wales, was the victim of a reported racial hate crime. Data analysed by the Western Mail of youngest and oldest victims of hate crime has revealed two toddlers were victims of hate crime during 2015.

Meanwhile, a six-year-old was the victim of hate crime based on their sexual orientation, and an eight-year-old in Carmarthenshire was on the receiving end of a disability-based hate crime. The oldest Welsh victim of a hate crime reported to police last year was an 87-year-old in Denbighshire, who experienced racial abuse.

Gwent Police also recorded two cases of vulnerable adults - an 85-year-old from Blaenau Gwent and an 84-yearold from Newport - being victims of hate crime.

A 79-year-old, also from Newport, was another victim of racial abuse.

Aliya Mohammed, chief executive of Cardiff charity Race Equality First, said she was appalled by the findings, which showed people of all ages, including such young children, had been among the Welsh victims of racial hate crimes.

She added: "It's absolutely shocking. Instantly you think there must be something wrong with the person who did it. "These crimes need more publicity. We need not to stop talking about it, we need to bring the topic up even if it makes people feel uncomfortable because we are nowhere near race equality in this country.

"We have got some fantastic legislation in the UK and we are well ahead of some other countries - but there is still a lot more to do."

Luke Young, campaigns manager for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) support organisation Stonewall Cymru, said he was not surprised by the findings.

"Stonewall's research also shows young people are victims of homophobic bullying in schools, and that bullying can happen at primary or secondary school age," he said.

"This goes to show that, regardless of age, homophobic abuse happens week in, week out, all across Wales.

"Whether it's homophobic language aimed at a young child, someone physically bullied in a school or attacked in the street, that has an impact not only on the people involved, but on the wider community.

"We want our streets, schools and workplaces safer for everyone."

Mr Young added: "The key message is that people need to come forward to report hate crime whenever it happens.

"But there is also a challenge for police and other support services to be clear and open that victims can report it and it will be taken seriously."

Elsewhere across the UK, a 104-yearold was a victim of a racial hate crime in North Manchester, while a 95-year-old was a victim of violence in a homophobic crime.

Most of the crimes experienced by young and old victims were due to race or disability hate.

The youngest victim of a disability hate crime was in Nottingham and aged just one, while the oldest was a 99-yearold from Stockport.

UK-wide there were four babies aged one who were the victims of racial hate in 2015.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 15, 2016
Words:528
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