Yesterday, the Home Office produced figures to show an overall 18% increase in Hate Crime reporting for the 5 monitored strands – disability, faith, gender identity, race and sexual orientation – across England and Wales. Stop Hate UK responds.
While an increase in the reporting of any crime may be disappointing to some – this particular increase provides some good news for all those working to support people affected by Hate Crime. We know from other findings such as the British Crime Survey for England and Wales, that Hate Crime is particularly under-reported across all the strands; many more people experience Hate Crimes and incidents but do not subsequently report to the police or other agencies. This reluctancy to report can be for multiple reasons – a general mistrust of the police or the criminal justice system, a poor previous experience of reporting, a fear of reprisal from the perpetrators or others, or a lack of knowledge or confidence around where and how to report.
Rose Simkins, Chief Executive for Stop Hate UK, said: “The Home Office figures show, to some extent, that the work Stop Hate UK and other agencies, including the police are doing to raise awareness around Hate Crime and develop accessible systems is slowly having an effect on the increase in reporting from the public. However, we cannot be complacent or satisfied in any way that we have done enough to facilitate people who have experienced Hate Crime from stepping forward to report. We want everyone to know how Hate Crime affects people and how getting the right support can change how we feel about ourselves. Hate Crime ruins lives and we all need to show that we have no tolerance for Hate Crime in our society.
I do welcome the increase in reports of Hate Crime to the police over the last year but I am still concerned that we are not seeing and addressing the true picture of misery that infects the lives of those who experience hatred.”
While the figures show a substantial percentage change in the number reporting religiously aggravated incidents – 43% in 2014/15 compared to 2013/4 – this increase may be due in part to more accurate recording rather than more people reporting. The reporting of hate motivated crimes due to a person’s gender identity has only increased by 9%; this strand is the most under-reported of all strands with only 605 incidents being reported during 2014/5.
Rose continued: “Organisations across the sector are encouraged by the increase in reporting of Hate Crime across all the monitored strands; we are all working hard to improve the quality and effectiveness of the services we offer. This week is National Hate Crime Awareness Week and the number of activities and initiatives taking place is great to see. But, while there are thousands of people still being impacted by hateful words and behaviour, our work will continue to try and build their confidence and trust in reporting Hate Crime and we will all continue working together to improve the accessibility of our services. There is ‘No Place For Hate’ in our society.”