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Hate Crimes Unit Established

13 March 2008

Victorian Jewry welcomes the establishment of Victoria Police unit to fight hate crimes.

Anton Block, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, the peak body of Victorian Jewry, said today:

“The Victorian Jewish community’s leadership has long sought the establishment of a hate-crimes unit by Victoria Police. In this we have received the strong support of other community organisations, including the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria.

We are agreed that this would help stem the increasing number of incidents of intimidation, harassment, physical force or threats thereof that are motivated by hostility to victims as members of a religious or ethnic group. The Jewish community has been particularly affected, suffering 638 incidents nationwide last year, 171 of these in Victoria. The national figure is the highest ever recorded and more than twice the average of the previous 17 years.

We are hence very pleased that Victoria Police has been receptive to our concerns by agreeing to establish an Intelligence Crime Desk at the Moorabbin Divisional Intelligence Unit to monitor and report on such incidents and offences committed against the Victorian Jewish community.

At the same time we note that hate crime is not only a Jewish problem, but one affecting the larger community. As such, we hope that this service will be extended to all victim groups, as it is elsewhere in the Western world. Increased violence has become a major issue in Victoria in recent times and all actions to counter it are necessary and welcomed.”

For further information, please contact:

Anton Block 0418 320 417 or Geoffrey Zygier 0413 731 545

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