Why Have Hate Crime Legislation?
Legislation Helps Recognise The Particular Impact And Harm Caused By Hate Crime
Harm to the victim
- Harm can cause mental distress such as depression, anger, anxiety, trauma
- Harm has a social impact as victims or groups change their behaviour to avoid further victimisation
- May move home or job, avoid public spaces and become socially isolated
Harm to the group the victim belongs to
- Hate crimes remind members that they are potential targets
- Members can be fearful of those with the same identity as the perpetrator
Harm to wider society
- Undermines society’s moral values
- Less tolerant society
- Hatred not recognised or challenged because it becomes the “norm”
- May increase social unrest
Hate Crime Laws Provide A Symbolic Function And Tell Society That Such Behaviour Is Not Acceptable
- It is important to send a message to victims, offenders and wider society that hate crime behaviour will not be tolerated and that justice will be done.
- They show society’s disapproval of the deliberate targeting of an individual who is a member of a particular group that may be at an unfair disadvantage in society.
- They enable people to recognise what a hate crime is; encourage reporting and increase awareness of how hate crime will be dealt with and how victims will be supported.
- They provide an opportunity to educate people and encourages long term cultural change and acceptance of diverse communities.
The Benefits Of Identifying Hate Crime Behaviour Within The Criminal Justice System
- Ensures offenders understand their actions are morally wrong: the hate crime element of an offence is recorded and may attract a more severe punishment.
- Marks out repeat offenders: the hate crime element of the offence appears on the criminal record of the individual and may be taken into account if any future offences are committed.
- We can produce statistical information and monitor trends.
- We can remain vigilant about the scale of hate crimes being committed.