A DOG trained to attack Muslims, child on child violence broadcast via social media and women having hijabs pulled from their heads are among hate-filled incidents reportedly suffered by North-East residents.

Brexit and terrorist attacks have contributed to a culture in which hate crime is rising year on year, experts and victims have suggested.

Every police force in our region has reported a rise in such crimes, with 4,148 incidents recorded as hate crimes last year.

Homophobic crimes in the North-East have leapt by more than a third, with racist and anti-transgender attacks also linked to a six per cent rise across the region – reflecting a 42 per cent increase in North Yorkshire, 12 per cent in Durham, two per cent in Cleveland and one per cent in Northumbria.

While improvements in crime recording and a growing awareness of the issue are believed to be contributing to a long-term national trend, a Government report says that “short-term genuine rises” followed the EU Referendum in 2016 and terrorist attacks in 2017.

Darlington councillor Sajna Ali, herself a victim of hate crime, said she was certain Brexit had had a significant impact and claimed politicians like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage had helped to legitimise hatred.

She said Brexit had ushered in a level of hatred she had not experienced before as she spoke of the impact hate crime has had on her own life and on Darlington’s Muslim community.

Cllr Ali said she had received reports of children being targeted over their nationality in racist attacks broadcast on YouTube, of women having their hijabs pulled from them and of people being spat at for being Muslim.

Describing an incident in which her own children were left terrified after a dog was set on them close to North Lodge Park, she said: “I was with my young daughters when a man ordered his dog to attack and kill the Muslims.

“It was awful, my little girls were terrified– the dog was coming at us full force, it had been trained to attack us and if it hadn’t been for a car coming at speed towards us and distracting it, it definitely would have.”

Cllr Ali said hate crime had a “huge impact” as she urged people to work together to tackle the issue, adding: “Victims are not just statistics and people should be able to feel safe walking the streets.

“We need police to safeguard us against hate crime and it is important for groups to come together and work to stamp it out.

"Children are not born knowing race or religion, they are taught everything when it comes to this world.

"Evil is everywhere but through education and teaching people about the basic etiquette of respecting each other, of live and let live, we can prevail against it.”

Hate crime in England and Wales rose by ten per cent between 2017/18 and 2018/19, official figures show.

Most incidents, both nationally and locally, were race related, with Muslims and Jews most likely to be targeted because of their religion.