COVID-19 XENOPHOBIA SPARKS ANTI-DESCRIMINATION CAMPAIGN

Following alarming reports the COVID-19 pandemic is fueling racist abuse, the NSW Government today launched a multimedia campaign, targeting xenophobia in the community.

The Stop Public Threats campaign will help victim-survivors and the community understand their legal rights, and ensure that threats of violence are reported to police for investigation.

Attorney General Mark Speakman says we need to work together to combat abusive behaviour that discriminates against cultural or religious groups.

“Stopping the spread of COVID-19 has required every member of the community to make enormous sacrifices. But the challenges we’ve faced are never an excuse for racism, scapegoating or scaremongering,” Mr Speakman said.

The campaign includes a podcast, website, videos, posters and social media materials for legal professionals and the community to send a clear message that physical and verbal abuse is completely unacceptable.

It builds on the NSW Government’s introduction of tough penalties of up to three years’ imprisonment for anyone that publicly incites violence against someone on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, intersex or HIV/AIDS status.

Acting Minister for Multiculturalism Geoff Lee hopes the campaign will empower diverse communities.

“Racial abuse and racial vilification in all their ugly forms are never acceptable and go against everything we stand for in NSW. No member of our community should ever feel attacked due to their cultural or religious background,” Mr Lee said.

“There is a small number of individuals with extreme and violent views who want to divide us. We need to reject this behaviour and protect the rights of all NSW residents,” said Minister for Counter Terrorism Anthony Roberts.

To report public threats of violence call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. In an emergency always contact Triple Zero (000). For more information on the “Stop Public Threats” campaign go to stoppublicthreats.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/

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