In 2016 EQuIP undertook an in-depth research project looking into Hate Crime in Warwickshire.
It was aimed at improving agencies’ understanding of the support needs of victims and witnesses of hate crimes and incidents in Warwickshire and to identify any gaps in service provision
The research involved engaging with participants and raising awareness of what a hate crime or incident is, which is defined as any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on the following 6 monitored strands of hate crime:
- Race (including nationality, national origin, ethnic origin, race and colour)
- Sexual orientation
- Individual characteristic that makes someone appear different (such as alternative subcultures like Goth, Grunge, Biker etc.)
A hate incident is an act that falls short of being a criminal act and is therefore not a criminal offence, but is still perceived by the victim to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on any of the same characteristics. These can include verbal abuse such as name calling or offensive jokes, bullying or intimidation, hoax calls, offensive phone or text messages.
67% of respondents felt they had a clear understanding of what a hate crime/incident is. However, through face to face engagement, it became apparent to EQuIP that this was not the case. Those surveyed were more aware of hate crime compared to hate incidents and were more aware that race was a hate crime strand. However there needs more awareness raising of hate incidents and the remaining 5 monitored hate crime strands. The survey also indicated the need for more public knowledge of hate crime laws and a list of agencies where victims can report to and what support services are available.
40% had either been a victim or knew someone that had been a victim of a hate crime/incident. The main reasons mentioned were that they did not know who they could talk to and they did not think anyone would be able to do anything about it. This indicates a need for more awareness of different agencies that people can report a hate crime/incident to and what measures can be taken to support the victim.
- 38% of those surveyed did not know of any support services that are available in Warwickshire and of the remainder, 48 different organisations/support groups were listed.
- Only 52% of public and voluntary agencies believe that the general public are aware of what a Hate Crime/Incident is.
- 32% of public and voluntary agency staff are unaware of any support services in Warwickshire to signpost victims to.
The report concludes with a with a number of recommendations for communities and agencies:
- Awareness raising of Hate Incidents within the community.
- More Information to be provided on reporting agencies, alternative agencies other than the police that victims and witnesses can report a Hate Crime to.
- Awareness raising of support services and what they have to offer.
- Training for frontline workers of all agencies to help identify Hate Crime victims.
- More effective partnership working between support services to ensure successful signposting.
- A committed effort to drive forward the Warwickshire Hate Crime Action Plan to ensure a more efficient and coordinated approach to tackling Hate Crime in Warwickshire, including multi-agency and partnership working.