A mother has spoken of her anguish at the abuse and violence her son has encountered while living in Lincoln, all because he is Polish.
Kate, whose name has been changed to protect the identity of her family, moved to Lincoln from Poland with her son in 2009.
She said that they had adapted well to life in the city before her son was beaten and kicked by a boy in his school two years later.
Kate said: “The bullying got worse and every time the culprit was reported my son was attacked. It got so bad that we had to get the police involved.
“My son continued to go to school, but either I took him there or my partner did to keep him safe.”
Kate’s son was attacked again in the same park, this time so badly that he required hospital treatment.
She said: “It was hugely upsetting for us all. I took time off work but I could see the effect it was having on my son as he’d stopped going out. He was afraid.
“The attacker was expelled from school and we were contacted by Victim Support, given alarms and our local Police Community Support Officer was made aware of what had been happening. After that it calmed down for a while and we were able to get back to leading our lives.
“This was short lived, though, as in April 2014 my son was attacked again and was taken to hospital by ambulance.”
Following the final assault, the offender was sentenced to community work and given a restraining order, meaning he was not allowed to come in close contact with the family.
However, the effect of the abuse and violence on Kate’s son has been far-reaching for her family.
She said: “We’ve moved to another part of the city and my son has gone from being friendly and happy to not trusting people and not wanting to go out.
“And the reason all of this hatred was directed at him? His ‘crime’? Being Polish.”
Kate’s harrowing story has been released as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
As part of the week, City of Lincoln Council’s Service Manager for Public Protection and Anti-Social Behaviour, Sam Barstow, has called on residents in the city to not tolerate hate in any form.
He said: “Hate crimes are often the result of horrible, vicious behaviour and, unfortunately, this can often motivate other behaviours that aren’t quite crimes in the legal sense.
“People who contact us can often be very distressed and may be changing their lifestyle or suffering negative impacts on their health because of the behaviour of others, and when these actions are done maliciously it is right that we respond swiftly and robustly.”