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Hate Crime (Government Action Plan)

Volume 542: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2012

Today, we are publishing “Challenge it, Report it, Stop it”—the Government’s plan for tackling hate crime.

Hate crime—crime which is motivated by hostility to the victim’s personal characteristics, such as disability, gender-identity, race, religion or sexual orientation—can have devastating consequences for victims, their families and communities. It is hugely under-reported, as many victims are reluctant to come forward for fear of attracting further abuse or because they do not believe that the authorities will take them seriously.

This is an issue the Government take very seriously, as demonstrated by our coalition commitment to improve the recording of such crimes.

We have a responsibility to reduce the incidence of hate crime and to protect victims. However, getting the response to hate crime right depends on deep local knowledge of victims, offenders and communities, so the lead must come from professionals at the front line, working with the voluntary sector and communities to respond to local issues and priorities.

The Government have a vital role to play in setting the direction at national level, and supporting those locally led efforts, with a clear, consistent message on the importance of tackling hate crime and protecting victims and communities. That role includes making more and better national-level data available, so that we have a better understanding of where hate crime is happening and why; encouraging new ideas and highlighting examples of good practice, so that local professionals can see what has worked in other areas; and, where necessary, giving victims of hate crime more protection under the law.

“Challenge it, Report it, Stop it” is our blueprint for the remainder of this Parliament. It brings together activity by a wide range of Government Departments—working with local agencies and voluntary sector organisations, as well as with our independent advisory group on hate crime—to meet three key objectives:

To prevent hate crime—by challenging the attitudes that underpin it, and intervening early to prevent it escalating;

To increase reporting and access to support—by building victim confidence and supporting local partnerships; and

To improve the operational response to hate crimes—by better identifying and managing cases, and dealing effectively with offenders.

Hate crime is also a global issue and our responsibility to share our experience, ideas and good practice should also extend to partners overseas. We will therefore continue to push for action on hate crime at international level, through a range of organisations, including the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

A copy of the action plan will be placed in the Library of the House