UCLan welcomes Sophie Lancaster’s mum in hate crime awareness visit
University and Disability Equality North West mark tenth anniversary of young goth who was beaten to death for being different
The mother of murdered local girl Sophie Lancaster has visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to raise awareness of hate crime.
The University welcomed Sophie’s mother Sylvia, along with Disability Equality North West, for a special screening of the film Black Roses, which was released in 2015 to share the story of Sophie’s life and the tragic events after she and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked in 2007 for dressing as goths.
Sylvia commented: “It’s really important that students take on the messages in the film, as these are the people who can make positive changes against hate crime in their future careers. The audience discussion following the film was very honest and positive, giving everyone a voice and a way to move forward with the next steps to ensuring we are safe in our communities.”
The event was organised by UCLan’s Creative Communities Group (CCG) and Disability Equality North West to mark the tenth anniversary of Sophie’s death.
"The tragedy and the circumstances surrounding Sophie's death is still very difficult to comprehend and the anniversary of her death gives us the opportunity to both remember Sophie and highlight hate crime that is still taking place in our society."
CCG Manager Nigel Farnworth said: “‘It was a privilege for the CCG to bring this event to UCLan. The film about Sophie’s life was very powerful and meeting her mother Sylvia was an honour. The fascinating question and answer session at the end left me and other members of the audience inspired to help spread the message that hate crime of any kind is unacceptable.
“The tragedy and the circumstances surrounding Sophie's death is still very difficult to comprehend and the anniversary of her death gives us the opportunity to both remember Sophie and highlight hate crime that is still taking place in our society.
“Sophie's mother Sylvia has been doing an amazing job in what must be very difficult circumstances raising awareness of hate crime and keeping it high in the public agenda.”
Des Butler from the Developing from the Negatives project who organised the event commented: “It was the first time I had met with Sylvia and found her to be very inspirational. Keep up the good work the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. I was also happy to see a large amount of police officers in attendance as it shows that the police are taking the issue of hate crime very seriously. We have been working very hard with the police and other organisations to raise awareness of hate crime and hopefully more hate crimes and incidents will be reported.”
Mel Close, CEO of Disability Equality North West, added: “We are proud to be working with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation to ensure that’s Sophie’s legacy lives on and that the issue of hate crime and witnesses/victims knowing how to access and where to report continues.”