Government and agencies must step-up the fight against Hate Crime say Sussex researchers
More effective, evidence-based work needs to be done to tackle hate crime, according to a report published today by the University of Sussex as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2016.
Preventing Hate Crime by Dr Mark Walters, Professor Rupert Brown and Dr Susann Wiedlitzka of the Sussex Centre for Crime Research has recommended that agencies and government departments need to re-assess how they identify, police and prevent hate crime in England and Wales.
The report recommends:
- Restorative justice be more widely available to help offenders understand the harms caused by prejudice and to prevent further offences.
- More investment from the Government to evaluate rehabilitation and education programmes and their success to ensure that their future use is evidence-based.
- More work should be done to help police to identify hate crimes and deal with the needs of victims, through training and multi-agency working.
- Online apps should be investigated as an easier way for victims to report hate crimes.
- All five protected characteristic (race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender) should be treated equally in law.
- The National Probation Service should create a knowledge sharing database to ensure that information, expertise and best practices are accessible by criminal justice agencies nationally.
Dr Walters said: “This report focusses on how criminal justice agencies are currently addressing hate crime, and what we found was that there was not just a lack of knowledge about how to work with offenders and what works in preventing such crimes, but also there was a lack of information sharing between the various agencies involved.
“This is a rallying call to the Home Office and criminal justice agencies to invest more time and money developing an evidence-based approach to tacking this issue.”
Preventing Hate Crime is a comprehensive review of current hate crime interventions being used in England and Wales. In addition, researchers conducted two round-table events earlier this year, with policy-makers and practitioners taking part and contributing to the report’s recommendations.
Dr Walters said: "The EU referendum has given rise to intense and sometimes hostile public debates on issues pertaining to national identity, immigration and race relations. The knock-on effect has been clear to see, with significant increases in reported and recorded hate crimes across Britain.
“Whether there is more hate crime or higher reporting levels - or both, as is likely - it is clear that we are in need of an improved strategy to effectively tackle and prevent hate crimes from occurring."