Race hate offences against children have increased in Lincolnshire and are at a three year high nationally, according to new data from the NSPCC.
The NSPCC’s Freedom of Information request to police forces nationally has shown that toddlers and babies yet to reach their first birthday were among the victims of race hate crimes.
An FOI request was submitted to every police for in the UK. Of these, 38 of the 43 forces in England and Wales, Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland responded within the allocated time.
The NSPCC asked police to provide for each of the last financial years up to and including April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 the totally offences which have been recorded/flagged as a race hate crime where the victim is under 18.
Nationally there has been a rise of more than a fifth from 8,683 in 2015/16 to 10,571 in 2017/18. The latest figure of 10,571 is an average of almost 29 a day across the UK.
In Lincolnshire, race hate offences against children have risen with Lincolnshire Police recording 14 in 2015/16, 31 in 2016/17 and 40 in 2017/18. This means the figure has more than doubled from 2015/16 to 2017/18.
The number of offences is not equal to the number of children as a child can suffer more than one offence.
Childline held 2,617 counselling sessions about race and faith based bullying between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
Children have told the NSPCC-run service they were being targeted because of the way they looked and reported being told to “go back to their own country”.
One girl, aged 10, said: “I’ve been bullied ever since I started school. The bullies call me nasty names; it makes me feel so ashamed. My friends won’t hang out with me anymore because people started asking why they were friends with someone who had dirty skin.
“I was born in the UK but bullies tell me to go back to my own country. I don’t understand because I’m from the UK. I’ve tried to make my face whiter before using make up so that I can fit in. I just want to enjoy going to school.”
Children affected by racial bullying and abuse are urged to contact Childline.
Childline counsellor Atiyah Wazir said: “Over the eight years that I’ve volunteered as a counsellor it is just as heart-breaking every single time a child tells you they wish they looked different.
“These children have been made to feel shame and guilt and sometimes daren’t tell their mums or dads about it because they don’t want to worry or hurt their feelings.
“I want every child to know that this bullying is not ok, they have nothing to be ashamed of, and Childline is always here to listen.”