In August 2013 the Law Commission announced a public policy consultation into ‘Hate crime: the case for extending the existing offences’. This consultation questioned whether existing hate crime legislation should be extended to cover hate crime motivated by hostility on the basis of sexual orientation, transgender identity, or disability, in addition to the current protections for race and religion.

IARS and the 99% Campaign have submitted a joint response that focuses specifically on the implications of proposed policy changes set out in this consultation for young people in the UK. It draws on IARS’ experience and research regarding hate crime, as well as findings from our Big Lottery Fund programme, which allowed us to hold a workshop with 21 young people aged 16-25 to discuss key questions included in the consultation.

Key points raised by the young people who participated in our research:

The current law is unfair and old fashioned because it treats hate crimes motivated by hostility on the basis of race or religion differently from those motivated by hostility on the basis of sexual orientation, transgender identity, or disability.

The ‘hate’ aspect of hate crime offences should be recorded on offenders’ criminal records, along with the act committed, in order to recognise the dual nature of the offenders’ wrongdoings.

Changes in legislation are unlikely to prevent hate crimes or encourage victims to report them because most people are unaware of the detail of the law.

The government needs to do more to educate young people about race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, and the interaction of these factors with hate crime.

To download a copy of IARS’ consultation response from our online library, please click here

To read the letter containing the policy consultation response on hate crime that Hannah Paterson, IARS Research Volunteer, wrote to Jeremy Brown MP please click here

For further information about IARS’ policy work or to express an interest in working on a joint submission in the future, please contact A.Carmouche@iars.org.uk