Dear Cdr. Mak Chishty,

I am writing in response to your Call for evidence on hate crime and best practice. Sorry we missed the chance to meet you at the IARS Annual Research and Youth Leadership Awards 2014. It would have been a great opportunity to hear directly from over 100 young people, but also see inspiring youth projects combating the causes and fears that generate hate phenomena in our capital. This letter is written to introduce you to our organisation, the youth-led 99% campaign and the work that our young people did in order to collect evidence for you.

Let me point out that IARS has been carrying out user-led and youth-led work on hate crime for almost 10 years. We have worked with communities on the ground looking at the evidence and what constitutes best practice. We have published the findings of these results and we would be happy to send you a list of these publications should you wish. In addition to working with young people, we empower victims as well as users of the criminal justice system in order to produce evidence and inform policies and practices impacting on them.

Specifically in relation to your call, our young people with the support of our Youth Advisory Board (YAB) held meetings to collect ideas from their peers most of whom are affected by hate incidents. Their full response is attached to this letter (Annex B). A representative of the YAB also supported the HEAR network to prepare their response.  In their response, the young people set three themes which were then applied to each listed potential strategy looking at (1) how these would work practically; (2) if and how they would achieve their desired outcomes; and (3) what would the suggested means of evaluation be. An example of this approach is in Annex A.

Our young people are pointing out the need for increased confidence in the police and other criminal justice agents. They are also asking for more youth-led and community interventions including restorative justice. More importantly, they highlight the need to allow them to collect evidence of impact and through youth-led research and evaluation monitor best practice. They are tired of seeing funds being directed to the usual suspects. Your new strategy must be devised in partnership with young people. This needs to be done not in a tokenistic manner.

Attention must also be given to the Victims’ Directive due to be implemented in 2015. CPD face-to-face and online training on the Directive is available via IARS. I take this opportunity to invite you to our Annual Conference “A victim-led criminal justice system?” (19 Nov 14).

Hate incidents are a concern. However, what is an even greater concern are their underlying causes. These stretch beyond the criminal justice system and they are the very reasons that corrupt our humanity and dignity. They are matters of human rights.

Your response would be appreciated and indeed shared with our members and networks. This letter will be put in the public domain along with our consultation response. We also hope that you will meet representatives of our young people to discuss their ideas in more detail. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Theo Gavrielides

IARS’ Founder & Director


To view the consultation response please follow this link

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