COMMONS

Inquiry into hate crime and its violent consequences launched

04 July 2016

The Home Affairs Committee intends to carry out an inquiry into hate crime and its consequences. This includes hate crime motivated by extremism and actions carried out by fixated individuals ("lone wolves").

Background

Hate crime is defined as any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic. Hate crime can be motivated by disability, gender identity, race, religion or faith and sexual orientation.

The days immediately following the EU referendum saw a rise in the number of attacks on people from ethnic minorities and of non-British nationality, including on their community centres and places of worship.

The killing of Jo Cox MP has also raised serious questions about how to address the potential for violent action from those holding extremist or fixated views.

The Government announced on 30 June 2016 that the Home Office would be publishing a new action plan on hate crime.

Terms of reference

Written evidence is invited on, but need not be restricted to, the following issues:

  • The effectiveness of current legislation and law enforcement policies for preventing and prosecuting hate crime and its associated violence.
  • The barriers that prevent individuals from reporting hate crime, and measures to improve reporting rates.
  • The role of social media companies and other online platforms in helping to identify online sources of hate crime and to prevent online hate incidents from escalating.
  • The role of the voluntary sector, community representatives, and other frontline organisations in challenging attitudes that underpin hate crime.
  • Statistical trends in hate crime and how the recording, measurement and analysis of hate crime can be improved.
  • The type, extent and effectiveness of the support that is available to victims and their families and how it might be improved.

Submitting written evidence

Written submissions for this inquiry should be submitted online, by midday on 1 September 2016.

Chair's comments

The Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, said:

"The Committee is launching this inquiry following a number of deeply concerning and tragic incidents, such as the appalling murder of Jo Cox and racially motivated attacks against individuals following the EU referendum result.

Hate crime and violence have no place in a 21st Century democracy like the United Kingdom, and we will be hearing evidence on how to address the risks those with extremist or fixated views can pose.

Specifically, we will be assessing how well the current system of prevention and prosecution is functioning, the influence of the internet and the role of community and mental health services."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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