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Short Films Highlight Devastating Impact of ‘Mate Crime’

The films are based on some of the real life experiences of members of Newport People First and Torfaen People First

Newport People First and Torfaen People First are today premiering a range of impactful short films produced by people with learning disabilities to warn of the dangers and highlight the devastating impact of ‘Mate Crime’.

‘Mate Crime’ is a form of hate crime in which a vulnerable person is manipulated or abused by someone they believe to be their friend. The range of films, which have been funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, will premiere at the Riverfront Theatre in Newport today. They are based on some of the real life experiences of members of Newport People First and Torfaen People First , the self-advocacy groups run by people with disabilities in Gwent.

The series of films tell the stories of several victims of Mate Crime across Newport and Torfaen. Each film highlights how vulnerable individuals were targeted, the impact it has had on their lives and how services, such as Newport and Torfaen People First and Gwent Police were able to provide support.

Mate crime is often difficult for police to investigate due to its sensitive nature and campaigners believe the problem is far more widespread than is currently reported.

On supporting the project, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “Mate Crime is just about as low as anyone can go in order to take advantage of vulnerable individuals and is a crime that, to any civilised person, is completely unacceptable. I am very pleased to support this project and I encourage anyone affected by Mate Crime to report to either Newport or Torfaen People First or Gwent Police.”

Joe Blackley, from Newport People First said: “Through this joint initiative with Torfaen People First we hope to highlight the issue of Mate Crime to everyone in today’s society and to give people with a learning disability an idea of what Mate Crime looks like. Many of these individuals are unaware that they are being taking advantage of, these films will give them the knowledge and confidence to not only report Mate Crime to the police, but give them confidence that the police will take is seriously.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Warrender, lead for Hate Crime at Gwent Police, praised the selection of films, saying: “I'm really pleased to support these films intended to raise awareness around Mate Crime. This specific crime type exploits people in the cruellest of ways. I hope that these films not only give people the ability to identify Mate Crime, but also give victims the confidence to report to the police, because I can assure them that they will be supported.”