New hate crime research will lead to more support for victims, say researchers

Support for victims of hate crime is set to be improved through recommendations made by researchers at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Experts from the university have completed a two-and-a-half year project to investigate ways in which services for victims of hate crime in Walsall could be improved.

Kim Sadique, Associate Professor in Community & Criminal Justice, and Nikki Bailey, Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice and Policing, worked with social enterprise Black Country Innovate CIC to survey people affected by hate crime.

The researchers’ recommendations will inform the next iteration of the Walsall Hate Crime Reduction Initiative, which brings together individuals, community organisations, places of worship, Walsall Council, and West Midlands Police in the effort to reduce all forms of hate crime across the town.

Their full report was launched at an event on 28 February at the Hub in Walsall. During the event a live illustrator produced an infographic which identified the problems raised by survey respondents and outlined the recommendations of the report. A Statement of Intent to reduce hate crime was signed by the attendees.

illustration - hate crime

Sadique, who works with Remembering Srebrenica, a national charity dedicated to building stronger communities and educating against hate speech at all levels, has worked for many years on issues relating to hate crime.

“Black Innovate CIC had secured money from the Safer Walsall Partnership,” she explains. “They found that the national problem of increasing levels of hate crime was also being played out in Walsall. At the same time, they were finding that many people did not in fact know whether what they had experienced was a hate crime or a hate incident, and whether they should report it”

Speaking about support for victims of hate, Bailey explains that all victims reporting an incident, whether it is recorded or not, should be made aware of specialist services. “Victims want timely access to support when they are in most need. Offering a referral or the ability to ‘self-refer’ is key to victims feeling that their experience is taken seriously.”

The project, which began online during the pandemic and then expanded to surveys in the seven core languages of the local area, received over 250 respondents.

One of the crucial moments, Sadique explains, was when an individual from the Roma community explained that their community was not “hard to reach”, and that in fact they felt “pushed away.” “It was such a profound statement for me that it’s changed the way I consider minoritised communities. They aren’t hard to reach, we just have to work out why they feel pushed away and how to work with them to overcome this.”

Thinking more broadly, both Sadique and Bailey feel that further work needs to be done to educate the public on what a hate crime is and to encourage them to report. More importantly any hate crime strategy needs to be seen as a priority, properly resourced and referral mechanisms need to be victim-centred.


Posted on Monday 15 April 2024

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