Hate Crime and the Legal Process: Options for Law Reform
4 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 28, 2017
Hate crime is a priority area for the Government and policymakers. Among other initiatives to tackle and respond to hate crime, the Government published hate crime ‘action plans’ in 2012 and 2016, the Law Commission completed a project on hate crime legislation in 2014, and, in 2017, the Crown Prosecution Service published new public statements on how it prosecutes hate crime. Public awareness of hate crime has also grown, particularly since the 2016 EU referendum which led to a huge spike in the number of hate crimes reported to the police.
More generally, following the referendum, there have been reports of increased levels of anxiety and fear among minority groups and marginalised communities. But what happens when a hate crime is reported to the police? How effectively does the law (and legal professionals) respond to allegations of hate crime? This Briefing Paper presents findings from a 24-month empirical study on the operation of hate crime legislation. These findings indicate that significant reform is necessary to ensure justice for both victims and defendants in hate crime cases.
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