Widest-ranging hate crime study ever undertaken launches findings and recommendations

Posted by er134 at Sep 09, 2014 09:25 AM |
Two-year Leicester Hate Crime project reveals that acts of hate and hostility are an everyday and unreported reality for thousands of people

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 9 September 2014

Contact pressoffice@le.ac.uk to request images

The most wide-ranging study of hate crime ever to be undertaken has highlighted that acts of hate, prejudice and targeted hostility feature regularly in the lives of people from all kinds of different backgrounds and communities.

The findings reveal that most of these incidents are not reported, with many victims feeling isolated, vulnerable and ignored by criminal justice agencies, local authorities and other organisations in a position to offer support.

The research, undertaken by a specialist research team based at the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), examined the nature and impact of hate crime and victims’ expectations of service providers.

The research team heard from nearly 1,500 victims targeted on the basis of their identity characteristics or perceived ‘difference’.

The study revealed that:

  • As many as 87% of victims had experienced verbal abuse and 70% had been harassed, often repeatedly.
  • 32% had experienced violent crime, 27% cyberbullying, and 10% a sexually violent hate crime such as rape or sexual assault.
  • All forms of hate crime had affected victims’ emotional and physical health, with particularly high numbers of victims of disablist and transphobic hate referring to feeling vulnerable, depressed or suicidal.
  • Many victims had experienced hate incidents when travelling on public transport.
  • A surprisingly high proportion of hate crime perpetrators had been known to victims, either as acquaintances, neighbours, friends, work colleagues, family members or carers.
  • Less than a quarter of victims had reported their most recent experience of hate crime to the police, and fewer still had reported to other networks, organisations or individuals in a position of authority and trust.
  • Victims across different communities, age-groups and backgrounds showed a strong preference for the use of educational interventions and restorative approaches to justice, as opposed to extended prison sentences or harsher punishment.


Stevie-Jade Hardy, the project’s Lead Researcher, said: “This study has illustrated how hate crime is a regular and often profoundly distressing reality of day-to-day life across so many different groups and communities. This includes people who are targeted specifically because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or their gender identity, as well as those who belong to the kinds of more marginalised groups so often overlooked within research and policy – such as Gypsies and Travellers and members of new migrant communities, to name just some examples.”

Jon Garland, Reader in Criminology at the University of Surrey and Co-Investigator on the project, said: “Our findings have revealed the significant impacts of violent acts of hate crime, as well as the harms caused by the more commonplace forms of intimidatory behaviour that often go unpublicised and unreported despite the damaging long-term consequences for victims, their families and wider communities.”

Dr Neil Chakraborti, Reader in Criminology at the University of Leicester and the project’s Principal Investigator, added: “Our goal throughout the project has been to help organisations respond more effectively to hate crime. To that end, we have produced a series of recommendations within a Victims’ Manifesto which embodies the needs and expectations of those whose lives have been directly affected by hate crime. These are important, achievable and victim-centred recommendations whose implementation can help to deliver more effective services for victims locally and nationally.”

The research team has produced a comprehensive Findings and Conclusions report, an Executive Summary of key findings, a Victims’ Manifesto and a series of themed briefing papers covering specific strands of hate crime.

Copies of these reports are available at www.le.ac.uk/centreforhatestudies.

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

For more information contact the research team at:
Email: uolhatecrime@le.ac.uk
Twitter: @HateCrime_Leics

ABOUT THE ESRC

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funds research into the big social and economic questions facing us today. We also develop and train the UK’s future social scientists. Our research informs public policies and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. Most importantly, it makes a real difference to all our lives. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government. In 2015 the ESRC celebrates its 50th anniversary.
www.esrc.ac.uk

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