In the shoes of others

Using virtual reality to change perspectives and promote empathy in order to better understand those affected by hate crime

10 a.m. – 5 p.m., August 22, University of the Hamburg Police Academy, Braamkamp 3B, 22297 Hamburg

In 2019, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) victim satisfaction surveys showed that just under half of victims of hate were not satisfied with the way police officers were handling their complaints and this needed to be addressed, so project “Affinity” was born. “Affinity”, a collaboration between Mother Mountain Productions CIC (MMP) and Greater Manchester Police, created a 360-3D virtual reality experience that allowed police officers to directly experience hate crime by putting officers literally “in the shoes” of victims, with the aim to increase connection and empathy.

MMP used VR technology to give the Police an immersive experience, so they were able to feel the effect of hate crime on those who experienced it, rather than to just understand it intellectually. An experience was created where officers literally ‘changed places’ with victims and saw the world from their point of view.

Made with the help of the communities affected, the films portrayed real life stories of people who had suffered antisemitism, transphobia and disability hate crime and the project, which concluded early in 2023, has had real impact. Recent data extracted from the responses of officers has given an indication of the power of the immersive experience. Not only have the officers felt that overall they have a better understanding of hate crime over 90%, but 93% stated that they now know what it “ feels” like to be a victim of hate crime. The result that has most impact however is that some 18 months on, 43% of officers have said that they have changed their behaviours when dealing with hate crime as a result of going through the VR experience. This shows the power and effect and lasting impact of immersive VR when related to real life events.

In this workshop, we want to discuss and explore the “Affinity” project together; the VR applications can be tested during the workshop sessions.

The workshop will be held in english.

Online participation is possible.


  • Prof. Dr. Eva Groß Hochschule Akademie der Polizei Hamburg / eva.gross at
  • Prof. Dr. Matthias Quent Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal / matthias.quent at
  • Prof Dr. Ulrike Zähringer Hochschule Akademie der Polizei Hamburg / ulrike.zaehringer at

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