The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has launched a report on Tuesday 5 February, as we went to press, highlighting the impacts of hate crimes on 'extremism, cohesion and communities'.
The APPG report summarises hundreds of submissions that were received by organisations working in the area of hate crime work or with an interest in this area. With rising levels of hate crimes across various protected characteristics, and within a shifting and unstable political landscape, the findings paint a picture of real risk that can impact on communities and on social cohesion in our country.
The report also reviews the impact of hate crimes on feelings of marginalisation which they exacerbate when the victim feels that they have not got access to justice. This can lead to a rise in extremism and vulnerabilities to it.
The Key findings included:
* Women describing daily misogynistic abuse being hurled at them by men, including sexually explicit language,
* Learning disabled and autistic individuals being targeted for abuse and financial and sexual exploitation through 'mate crimes',
* Victims changing their routes to work, suffering mental and emotional difficulties and higher levels of anxiety and nervousness,
* Victims developing coping mechanisms as though they were acclimatising themselves for future incidents which they believed would take place in the current social and political uncertainty in the country,
* Lower levels of confidence and self-worth within people with disabilities, given the frequency of abuse and hate incidents that they suffer. Groups working with disabled people mentioned that abuse centred on the self-worth of victims, and that hate was a 'normalised' set of experiences for many,
* Victims of online hate built up behavioural avoidance mechanisms with some even coming off social media altogether, thereby limiting their life chances,
* How 'fake news' produced by politically inclined web-sites in the US, UK and Europe, attempted to create social divisions through amplified online activities. Many of these sites stoked up a 'them and us' approach that was disseminated widely across the internet through web-sites and social media platforms.
The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hate Crime, Paula Sherriff MP said, "The APPG on Hate Crime enquiry on 'How can we build community cohesion when hate crime is on the rise?'has identified several key recommendations on how things can be improved. These recommendations apply to government, police forces, crown prosecution services as well as hate crime reporting agencies. Our recommendations include allowing police and prosecutors to recognise the intersectional nature of many hate crimes as well as rectifying the inequalities that exist in terms of sentencing.".
Nik Noone, the Chief Executive Officer of the London based LGBTQ support and hate crime monitoring project, Galop said, "Galop welcomes this report. It comes at precisely the right moment, with recorded hate crime having doubled in just a few years. We cannot allow that to this growth in hostility toward marginalised groups to become the new norm. Now is the time for us to stand together against hatred and to ensure that its victims receive the specialist support they need".
Dave Rich, the Deputy Director of Communications of the Community Security Trust which monitors antisemitism said, "CST welcomes this valuable and worrying report. Hate crimes affect individuals, families and entire communities. Their growth indicates a divided and angry society, while also contributing to that hatred and division. Reducing antisemitism and hate crime, supporting victims and finding ways for different communities to work together are all essential tasks that CST will continue to support and pursue."