Hate crime is a daily reality
Hate crime is still a daily reality for many people in Wales, according to a new study by the University and Race Equality First.
The findings from the biggest hate crime study ever carried out in Wales and England will be publicly launched at the Senedd today (23 September 2013) by Jeff Cuthbert, Communities Minister.
The All Wales Hate Crime Research Project is a groundbreaking three-year Big Lottery funded partnership between Race Equality First and Cardiff University's School of Social Sciences.
The project has surveyed 1,810 people and interviewed over 60 victims. The findings make it clear that hate crime is still a daily reality for many people in Wales and provide a wealth of information on the nature and impact of hate crime. This includes the kinds of incidents that people experience, where these incidents happen, and the psychological and physical effects on victims' lives.
Hate crime is hugely underreported and the findings from this study will provide important information about how people report hate crime and, just as importantly, why they so often fail to report.
Dr Matthew Williams, Principal Investigator, School of Social Sciences said: "This research represents the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted in England and Wales dedicated exclusively to understanding the nature and impact of hate crimes and incidents. By examining the experiences of different types of victims from various backgrounds, we have generated the first evidence globally that hate crimes have different impacts across the seven recognised protected characteristics. The research also highlights which victim groups are more or less likely to be satisfied with the response of the criminal justice system to hate crimes and garners opinions on what should be done with hate crime perpetrators."
Nearly a third of victim respondents said they were victimised at or near their home, while around a quarter were victimised in a public place. Two-thirds indicated they had been targeted by the same perpetrator multiple times, while just over two thirds (70%) said they were victimised by multiple perpetrators. Interview respondents believed that hate crime was motivated by drink and drugs, hostility towards certain groups and negative and stereotyped portrayals of minorities in the media.
Many victim respondents reported experiencing multiple impacts, such as anger, depression and loss of confidence. Nearly a third (29%) said they thought about moving out of their area and nearly one in five had considered moving out of Wales altogether. Worryingly, one in seven victim respondents reported having suicidal thoughts, with those experiencing repeat-targeted victimisation being four times more likely than any other victims to experience these thoughts. The findings also show that so-called 'low level' incidents (e.g., spitting, name-calling, being treated with disrespect) have a profound impact, even though victims are often reluctant to report this kind of disorder.
Almost 44% of victim respondents said they had reported the most serious incident to the police, but many did not, and the most common reasons given for not reporting were based on the belief that incidents were 'too trivial', that the police would not be able to do anything and that the current victim focused reporting system is at odds with the crown prosecution services' evidential approach.
Jeff Cuthbert, Communities Minister, said: "The Welsh Government is committed to taking action to make our country inclusive, equal and fair. An example of this is our consultation on a tackling hate crime framework, which I launched in July. The Framework outlines how we want to work with partners across the three key areas of prevention, supporting victims and improving responses. This will ensure we focus on making a real difference to people in Wales. Our consultation is open until 18th October and I encourage anyone with an interest in this issue to respond to it. I will be launching the final version of the Framework in spring 2014. Change cannot be done or driven by one agency or partner working in isolation. The only way we will see real change is by working together."
Aliya Mohammed, Chief Executive of Race Equality First said: "Hate crime devastates individual lives and creates fear and distrust in our communities. We are grateful to Big Lottery for funding this research which will be used to improve the lives of hate crime victims in Wales. We are calling on decision makers in Wales to acknowledge the findings from our research and make a pledge to take action on hate crime. Our report outlines 10 key recommendations for consideration by Welsh Government, the police and a wide range of other organisations".