An Update on the Enquiry on Hate Crime
Last month saw the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group’s (APPG) report on Hate Crime.
The group, created in 2018, connects researchers, civic society organisations, law enforcement and politicians across parties to work together to better understand and address hate crime. This report summarises findings from the group’s first enquiry, launched a year ago, which asked:
‘How can we build community cohesion when hate crime is on the rise?’
This question is both challenging and complex, particularly when thinking about hate crimes perpetuated online; the report describes the online world as ‘fertile breeding ground for hate crime’ and emphasises that harm perpetuated online has serious consequences offline.
What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is an offence that is:
‘…perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.’
What did the enquiry find?
The report confirms that hate crime is on the rise.
As of October 2018, data evidenced a 17% increase on the previous year. Race and ethnicity make up the most of reported hate crime, and religion saw the largest increase, of 40%. The enquiry illuminates the present prevalence hate crime, and takes an intersectional approach to examine how harm is directed at, and experienced by, different groups. Importantly, the report acknowledges that children and young people face significant risks from online hate, and women face disproportionate harassment too.
To gather this detail, the enquiry drew on expertise and insights from organisations working across different forms of hate crime, including evidence submitted by Glitch that underlines the need for greater safeguarding in digital spaces.
What happens next?
The current picture is concerning, but evidence from the enquiry will help policymakers explore solutions that address the complexities of hate crime.
Also, the report explores best practice and highlights education as key to tackling the problem. It notes the positive impact of existing resources currently available for schools aimed at raising awareness of risks and dangers around online bullying, with Glitch’s Digital Citizenship Toolkit included as an example. Ultimately, the report confirmed a need to expand provision of resources and training, especially for young people, to build resilience.
The report offers recommendations, echoing Glitch’s call for greater governance of online spaces and enforcement of standards that protect people’s rights and dignity online.