The Home Office and the Ministry for Communities, Housing and Local Government has published an update to the Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan. The new measures include a wide-ranging Law Commission review into hate crime to explore how to make current legislation more effective and consider if there should be additional protected characteristics, such as misogyny and age. There’s also going to be a new nationwide public awareness campaign designed to educate on what hate crime is in the real world.
Plans are afoot to extend the Home Office’s Places of Worship Scheme for a further year to support more religious institutions which are vulnerable to hate attacks, as well as improve police response by offering call handlers specialist training on how to support hate crime victims and revamping the True Vision reporting website.
There’s going to be over £1.5 million of further funding for groups such as the Anne Frank Trust and Kick It Out, which support young people to challenge prejudice and hatred. Anti-Semitism and Anti-Muslim Round Tables, to be hosted by ministers, will discuss responses to these issues.
The refresh has been designed to address specific concerns across all five monitored strands of hate crime, namely race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and disability.
Unity, tolerance and mutual respect
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Hate crime goes directly against the long-standing British values of unity, tolerance and mutual respect, and I’m committed to stamping out this sickening behaviour. Our refreshed Action Plan sets out how we’ll tackle the root causes of prejudice and racism, support hate crime victims and ensure offenders face the full force of the law.”
The updated Action Plan includes over £1.5 million of new funding for programmes that work with schools and young people to challenge discriminatory beliefs, promote positive discussions and encourage reporting. This includes supporting Kick It Out to challenge attitudes and behaviour in grassroots football and continue its work with Show Racism The Red Card.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP said: “It’s completely unacceptable that anyone should live in fear of intimidation and violence because of their beliefs or the colour of their skin. We must challenge prejudice and intolerance, whenever and wherever it appears in our society. Alongside publishing our refreshed Action Plan to tackle hate crime, I’m pleased to announce further funding of over £1.5 million for projects that challenge the attitudes that underpin racially and religiously motivated crime.”
Baroness Williams, the Minister for Countering Extremism, added: “While I’m proud that the UK continues to be a tolerant country, we know that, sadly, there are pockets of people who attempt to intimidate religious communities through violence and abuse just because of their faith. The Places of Worship Scheme works to ensure religious freedoms are protected and I’m pleased this funding can provide further reassurance to others that this Government will support them.”
The publication outlines the progress made against actions committed to in 2016. Completed actions include launching the ‘Building a Stronger Britain Together’ programme, funding for organisations across all hate crime strands and carrying out a project with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation to challenge hateful attitudes.
Further new commitments
Further new commitments from across Government and partner organisations in the refresh include the following:
*The Crown Prosecution Service is to update its hate crime resource pack for schools to help teachers engage and equip pupils on issues of hostility and intolerance
*The Government Equalities Office is to provide further funding for anti-bullying interventions in schools from March 2019 to March 2020
*Extending Government’s engagement with disabled people to better understand the nature of those hate crimes and their impacts
*Taking forward commitments in this summer’s LGBT Action Plan, including measures to examine the provision of victims services and enhance police training
*The Office for Students will provide over £480,000 of funding for 11 new projects designed to tackle religion-based hate crime and harassment as part of its student safeguarding scheme
*The Government will be supporting projects that encourage reporting, such as True Vision and Stop Hate UK which will tackle online abuse