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Babies among targets as race hate crime on the rise

RACE hate crimes against children — including babies — have risen by more than a fifth, figures show.

Offences recorded by police against under-18s went from 8,683 in 2015/16 to 10,571 in 2017/18, according to the NSPCC, which received data from 38 out of 45 forces. Infants under the age of one were among the victims who had racist abuse shouted at them.

The NSPCC also released figures from its helpline Childline, which held 2,617 counselling sessions about race and faith-based bullying in 2015/16 and 2017/18.

Some bullied youngsters said they tried to change the colour of their skin with make-up after being subjected to racist insults and shunned by other children. Girls aged between 12 and 15 were most likely to contact the helpline.

Childline boss John Cameron said: ‘Childhood bullying of this nature can cause long-term emotional harm to children and can create further divisions in our society.

‘If we see a child bullying another because of their race we need to tackle it head on, by explaining that it’s not OK and how hurtful it is.’

Police chiefs have raised concerns over the ‘febrile’ atmosphere the Brexit debate has created. The UK’s head of counter-terrorism policing Neil Basu said in January a spike in hate crime seen around the 2016 referendum had ‘never really receded’.

Police figures for all hate crime show sharp rises around the referendum and the 2017 terror attacks in London and Manchester. In March, monitoring group Tell Mama said the New Zealand mosque shootings prompted another spike here.

But longer-term figures from the Crime Survey of England and Wales show that hate crime fell by 40 per cent in the decade to 2017/18.