A united front is being called for to combat online hate speech after the results of a new survey suggests 81% had experienced hate online themselves or witnessed others being targeted.

UK charity collective Charities Against Hate conducted the report, which included 224 charity beneficiaries.

Its results also suggest that 77% of charity staff have not received any training to support them in dealing with online hate.

Beneficiaries said that their experiences of online hate made them feel angry (61%), frustrated (51%) and upset (47%). Almost half of those who have experienced online hate reported that it had a lasting impact on them.

Charities Against Hate suggests that charities should visibly engage with hate speech on social media channels, where appropriate, and promote positive, diverse and inclusive content on charity-owned channels that represents the charity’s audiences.

It also recommends ensuring adequate wellbeing support is in place for charity social media moderators.

Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, commented: “Not enough is being done to stop posts which incite hate and violence being made visible. No one should have to see these messages in their day to day lives, and especially not when trying to access ongoing information and support.

“I commend all the organisations involved in Charities Against Hate for taking this vital first step to ending hate speech online.”

Simon Francis, Founder Member of Campaign Collective and chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity Group, added: “Today’s research reveals the extent of the problem and enough is enough.

“The first step is for charities and their supporters themselves to take action. The recommendations published today will help the sector do more to address hate speech online and in the new year Charities Against Hate will be making recommendations for media owners to follow.”

To raise awareness of the issue on social media, Charities Against Hate is launching a storytelling week of action starting on 7 December 2020 and is encouraging people to share their story using the hashtag #ShareYourStory.