National Hate Crime Awareness week is 14-21 October 2017. We stand with charities from across the equality spectrum, and all victims of hate crime, to ask for equal treatment before the law.
We are better than hate.
Here in Britain, we want to live in a society that is fair and where everyone is treated with respect. Where everyone has the chance to be themselves, free from discrimination, violence and abuse. And where we are better than hate.
But right now, the police, charities and public bodies report that more and more people are enduring violence and abuse – just because of who they are. These crimes hurt not just the immediate victims, but their families, friends and our communities.
Victims of hate crime in England and Wales are treated differently before the law.
Victims of homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and disability hate crimes have less protection than victims of race and faith hate crimes. There is a lower maximum sentence for perpetrators, sending the message that some hate crimes are less serious than others. This is unfair.
The government has already promised to act.
In response to these and other problems, the Law Commission published a 2014 report that called on the government to carry out a full-scale review of hate crime sentencing. There has been no response from the government to this call. In June 2017, the Solicitor General for England and Wales said that as soon as possible, ‘we can craft a response to get the law right.’
We need action now.
Levels of all hate crimes have risen over the last few years:
- Stonewall report that hate crime against LGBT people has increased by 78% since 2013
- Galop have published their 2017 online hate crime report. 72% of respondents experiencing online hate crime had not reported their most recent experience
- The Traveller Movement have produced a report which finds 77% of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have experienced hate speech or hate crime
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission have estimated that 70,000 disability hate crime incidents took place in England and Wales each year from 2012- 2015
- The police have reported increased incidences of hate crime, particularly around terrorist attacks, and acknowledge the severe problem of under-reporting.
We stand together to support all victims of hate crime to achieve equal treatment before the law.
We call on Solicitor General Robert Buckland MP and Secretary of State for Justice Rt Hon David Lidington MP to:
- Make these strands of hate crime offences equal in law; and
- Undertake a full-scale review of all legislation around hate crime – similar to the current review in Scotland, and in line with the Law Commission’s 2014 recommendations.