THE NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) has welcomed a new campaign launched by the state government this week to stop public threats of violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the wake of reports the coronavirus outbreak was fuelling racist abuse towards some members of the community, the “Stop Public Threats” campaign will target hate and xenophobia, both in the community and online.
“We need to work together to combat abusive and violent behaviour that discriminates against cultural or religious groups as well as other sections of our community,” NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said.
The campaign will help victim-survivors and the community understand their legal rights, and ensure that threats of violence are reported to police for investigation.
Minister for Counter Terrorism Anthony Roberts said there was 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,” he said.
Welcoming the initiative, JBOD CEO Vic Alhadeff commented, “One of the critical issues we see is that a lot of people do not understand their legal rights, so this will address misconceptions and encourage people to come forward and report crimes.”
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.
In NSW, anyone that publicly incites violence against someone on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, intersex or HIV/AIDS status faces up to three years’ imprisonment.
Keep NSW Safe – a coalition of more than 30 religious and cultural groups – successfully advocated for the state government to make incitement to violence a crime.