CPS Hate Crime Newsletter, Issue 27
- Introduction from Chris Long
- Launch of LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline
- Positive outcomes from the CPS
- Community Engagement within CPS Areas
- Hate as ‘Regular as Rain’ – research report
- The Hidden Experience of Disability Hate Crime
- Anti-Muslim Hostility in a Time of Pandemic
- Chinese Welfare Trust
- Useful updates and info
- Downloadable version
Welcome to the hate crime newsletter.
February is LGBT+ History Month. A time to take stock and reflect but also to celebrate the positives in addressing the hate crime targetting our communities.
We open this edition by reproducing an article I provided for TransLiving magazine. We also wanted to share the news that Galop has launched a nationwide Helpline for those who experience anti-LGBT+ abuse, violence, or harassment.
This edition of the Hate Crime Newsletter also covers regular features on positive prosecution outcomes and Area engagement, as well as contributions from colleagues at Gate Herts, the Chinese Welfare Trust, the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group and Inclusion London.
CPS Approach to Addressing Transphobic Hate Crime
My name is Chris Long and I’m the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East of England at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). I am also very proud to be the Hate Crime Champion for the organisation.
I'm passionate about my role as I believe the CPS plays a really significant part in addressing what is a persistent and growing social issue.
At the CPS, we’re committed to tackling hate crime and we take a proactive approach to its prosecution.
The current legislation on hate crime covers hostility on the grounds of disability; race; religion; sexual orientation and transgender. A “hate crime” is any criminal offence which involves evidence of hostility on one or more of these grounds.
Transphobic hate crime, like all hate crime, hits people ‘where they live’. It singles out an aspect of a person’s identity. This targeting mirrors long-established forms of discrimination and prejudice. Its purpose can be to threaten, to hurt, to harass, to humiliate, to disrespect. We understand that hate crime can also send a wider message to the community, ‘you’re not welcome here’. It certainly always needs to be challenged as unfair, unlawful, and frankly as having no place in today’s Britain.
To encourage reporting of all hate crime, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the CPS use an agreed definition:
“any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”
Once reported, the police need to identify the evidence to support a prosecution of both crime and the “hate” element. The CPS recognises that some victims can be frequently targeted and as a result can be forced to significantly alter the way they live their lives.
In recent years, we’ve engaged with communities affected by transphobic hate crime to raise awareness and understanding, and also to ensure that prosecutors have the right tools for the job. Since 2017, we’ve refreshed our public statement on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime; revised our prosecution guidance covering transphobic hate crime; delivered a mandated training course covering transphobic hate crime; and refreshed the Trans Equality Statement which provides an overview of a range of CPS policies and commitments covering the prosecution of crime, hate crime, employment matters and community engagement.
This recent work has been strengthened by our approach on stakeholder engagement. Support has been provided by relevant non-government organisations; academics and individuals, including: the LGBT Consortium, Galop, the Gender Identity Research and Education Society, Stonewall; a:gender; Lancashire LGBT; Mermaids; Lancashire LGBT; and Querky.
Since our data was first published, a big challenge remains improving both the confidence to report and working to ensure that victims and witnesses receive support throughout the prosecution. In 2014/15, we had 37 completed prosecutions of which 28 or 78.7% were successful. In 2019/20, the conviction rate was 75.8% but we had 91 completed prosecutions.
We have however as across all strands of hate crime, improved the proportion of successful trans hate cases which attract a sentence uplift due to the aggravation of hostility. In 2014/15 the rate was 22.2% and in 2019/20, this had improved to 66.2% of successful prosecutions with an announced and recorded sentence uplift.
For instance, in August a man who pleaded guilty to punching the victim in the face leaving him unconscious was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, with the starting point increased by two months by way of an uplift. Earlier in the evening outside a nightclub in Wakefield the offender had called the victim by his former female name and then headbutted him. There had been previous tension between the two as the victim, a trans man, was in a relationship with offender’s ex-girlfriend and the offender had made transphobic comments in the past. The judge at Leeds Crown Court also ordered him to pay £3,000 in compensation to the victim and placed him under a curfew for three months between 8pm and 7am.
Overall volumes of reported trans hate crime remain low, however, and this will remain a challenge for us going forward.
Our national work to challenge hate crime is supported by a network of Hate Crime Coordinators (HCCs) and Inclusion and Community Engagement Managers (ICEMs) across all 14 CPS Areas in England and Wales. The HCCs provide a point of contact on hate crime and undertake quality assurance checks each month on live cases. ICEMs work with communities to raise awareness and increase confidence.
In this interrupted year, we are planning a review of completed transphobic hate crime prosecutions. The review will aim to learn lessons as well as identify examples of good practice. We are also in the process of refreshing our hate crime training packages; induction summary; detailed for new starters and a refresher course.
Coming out of the restrictions of lockdown, the police have reported an increase in the volume of recorded hate crime. All such incidents should be reported to the police. The CPS remains ready for the task and will continue to work with stakeholders locally and nationally to raise awareness and increase confidence amongst the Trans community.
To shape the May edition of the newsletter, please send comments, contributions and examples of best practice to: HateCrime.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick Antjoule: Head of Hate Crime Services
Galop is launching a new helpline, providing support and advice for any in the UK who has experienced anti-LGBT+ abuse, violence, or harassment. The LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline is open Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm, and can be reached on 020 7704 2040 or by emailing HateCrime@galop.org.uk. It is open to anyone in the UK who has experienced anti-LGBT+ violence, abuse or harassment and needs a safe space to talk. We can provide independent advice, support, and signposting to organisations that are local to you if you would like further help. Our helpline is run by LGBT+ people for LGBT+ people, and it is confidential. You can talk to our helpline team about abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, or violence you’ve experienced because of your orientation or gender identity. It is operated by Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity supporting people facing hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence. Find out more at www.galop.org.uk.
Even before the pandemic, hate crime against LGBT+ people was on the rise. Recorded anti-LGBT+ hate crime rose at twice the rate of other forms of hate crime in the two years before the lockdown. We know from research, both by Galop and by Stonewall, that the majority of LGBT+ victims of hate crime don’t report what has happened to them, so even these stark figures don’t represent the full picture. Our pre-lockdown polling showed that 1 in 10 people living in the UK felt that LGBT+ people are dangerous to others. We mustn’t fall into the trap of writing this off as trolls on social media - we see people in our services who have life-changing injuries due to the violence they have faced, those who have been forced to flee their homes, and those who have experienced blackmail and doxing because of who they are. Research shows, unsurprisingly, that the picture is even worse for the trans community, who face abuse from strangers in the street, from people in their workplaces or at home, and from coordinated groups.
Galop provides support for LGBT+ victims and survivors of abuse and violence. We specialise in hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence, but we also work with victims of other kinds of abuse, including honour-based abuse, forced marriage, and so-called “conversion therapies”. We are the home of the National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline, as well as the new LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline, both of which are open to any LGBT+ people in the UK who need advice and support about what has happened to them. Beyond the helplines, we do longer-term work with LGBT+ victims and survivors of abuse, working with them on their safety, advocating on behalf of our clients with statutory agencies, supporting people through the criminal justice system if they choose to pursue their case through the courts, and anything else needed to make sure that people are safe and able to recover. We also have a specialist Young People’s team working with people aged 13-25 who are victims of abuse. We work with around 8,000 LGBT+ people directly every year through our various services. We use our insight from this work and our own research to influence policy-makers nationally and locally to improve outcomes for LGBT+ victims and survivors of abuse and violence, and to make sure our community’s voice is heard.
Each CPS Area has a dedicated webpage on the CPS website. Pease visit to find out more about the work of the CPS in your Area.
Counter Terrorism Division
The CPS Counter Terrorism Division successfully prosecuted a boy from Cornwall who committed his first terror offence when he was 13 years old and was sentenced in February 2021.
The teenage neo-Nazi downloaded a manual on how different types of compounds can be used to cause explosions in July 2018. Over time he collected other electronic documents including ones giving instructions on how to make napalm, Molotov cocktails, learn knife fighting skills, and how to build an AK47 assault rifle using readily available supplies.
The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to 12 offences – two of dissemination of terrorist documents and 10 of possession of terrorist material. He was given a 24-month youth rehabilitation order, which is a community sentence with strict requirements by Judge Mark Dennis QC at the Old Bailey.
Jusge Dennis told him he had “entered an online world of wicked prejudice” and any reoffending would lead to a “spiral of ever lengthening terms of incarceration” to protect the public. However, taking into account the boy’s guilty plea and expressions of remorse, he ruled out custody, saying it would undo the rehabilitation work that was already under way.
He said: “You entered an online world of wicked prejudice and violent bigotry which has no place in a civilised society. You are now 16, coming on 17, years of age and any naivety or immaturity that may have played its part can no longer be put forward as an excuse.
“Any resurfacing of such prejudice or bigotry or engagement in such extremist activity will inevitably lead you in one direction, and that is in a spiral of ever lengthening terms of incarceration in order to protect the public from such conduct. You now have the opportunity to put this behind you and to redirect your future.”
Jenny Hopkins, from the CPS, said: “People will rightly be disturbed that a 13-year-old should hold the most appalling neo-Nazi beliefs and start collecting manuals on bomb-making and firearms.
“He claimed not to have racist views and just wanted to appear ‘cool’, but the body of evidence led to him pleading guilty to possession and dissemination of terrorist material.”
He also become the British head of an international online neo-Nazi group called Feuerkrieg Division (FKD). The British cell was called FKD_GB and was formed in June 2019, when he was just 14. At the time of his arrest a month later it had six members.
When police arrested him at the home of his grandmother, who he lived with, they found a Nazi flag and “1488” painted on the shed. The number is a Nazi rallying cry. The “14” refers to a white supremacist slogan and the “88” to the eighth letter of the alphabet - HH - or “Heil Hitler”.
On various far-right chat forums in 2019 he posted messages about killing gay people, Jews and non-whites using nail bombs, firearms and other methods.
He told arresting officers that he did not have racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic views but wanted “to look cool” and “to look like [he] was doing something for the cause”.
Despite this he pleaded guilty to two counts of disseminating terrorist publications and 10 counts of possessing such publications. The more serious dissemination offences related to sharing a poster of a nuclear explosion over the Houses of Parliament in the context of praising those who commit racially motivated mass murder. The other was sharing with the leader of the FKD, who was known as “Commander”, a 432-page guerrilla warfare manual that advocated murder and rape.
Prosecution evidence presented to the Old Bailey during his sentencing described how the FKD views all non-white people as “sub-humans” and its stated desire is for a “white jihad”. FKD approves of genocide against non-white people, and otherwise encourages violence against non-white people through its propaganda.
A woman who racially abused a taxi driver during a dispute over the fare had her fine nearly doubled because of the racist words used. The male and female customers disagreed with the taxi driver over the fare that was advised by the control room. Both passengers verbally abused the driver, but the female became racially abusive towards him. Their behaviour was such that, when another vehicle arrived, the second driver refused to take them as he feared for his safety. The woman was charged with a racially aggravated offence, following CPS advice and was convicted after trial whilst the male passenger was convicted of a public order offence. Fines were imposed on both, but the woman’s sentence was uplifted from £300 to £500 to reflect the seriousness of the racially abusive language she had used.
CPS Yorkshire & Humberside
The defendant homophobically abused his neighbour’s friend and threw a garden chair at her. He also caused damage to a gate and a fence panel belonging to his neighbour and shouted abuse at his neighbour. He pleaded guilty at the first hearing to criminal damage, common assault, using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress and breaching a court order. He was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order uplifted from Low Level to Medium Level, a 15-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 120 hours’ unpaid work. The Court also imposed a two-year Restraining Order and ordered the defendant to pay £120 compensation and a £90 victim surcharge.
The victim was walking past some shops with her friends when she heard a group of youths shouting transphobic abuse at her. The group started to follow her after she shouted back. An altercation with the defendant followed whereby the defendant assaulted the victim by punching her to the head and kneeing her to the stomach. The defendant also smashed the victim’s mobile phone against some railings. She pleaded guilty on the day of trial to assault by beating and criminal damage. She was sentenced to a four-month Youth Referral Order uplifted from a Conditional Discharge. She was also ordered to pay £60 compensation to the victim.
The defendant banged on the doors and windows of a takeaway before bursting into the shop and shouting racist abuse at a member of staff and punching the till causing it to fall to the floor. The defendant’s actions were captured on CCTV but there was no sound. She pleaded guilty to racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress by words or writing. She was sentenced to an 18-month Community Order including a 25-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and a 12-week curfew, uplifted from eight weeks. She was also ordered to pay a £90 victim surcharge and £85 towards prosecution costs.
CPS North East
The defendant was convicted of racially aggravated harassment for conducting a campaign of harassment over twelve months towards the victim which included racial abuse and aggression. She was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for two years with a community order, rehabilitation activities and unpaid work. The court ordered her to pay £500 compensation to the victim. The court announced that they had uplifted the term of imprisonment from twelve to 16 weeks to reflect the racial aggravation. The victim had attended court to read her victim personal statement to the court on sentence.
CPS West Midlands
The defendant racially abused security staff at a local Shopping Centre. He pleaded guilty to two counts of racially aggravated fear/provocation of violence by words and one count of using threatening, abusive words to cause harassment. He was sentenced to eight weeks' imprisonment and informed that his sentence had been uplifted by three weeks to reflect the hate crime nature of the offence.
The defendant sat near the victim on a train and persistently coughed while not wearing a face covering. When the victim moved seats to avoid him, he shouted racist and anti-Islamic abuse at her. The incident left the victim shaking, fearful that she would have been assaulted and worried about travelling alone. At the first hearing, he pleaded guilty to two counts of racially and religiously aggravated harassment and was fined £300. The fine was increased by £100 to reflect the hate crime element of the offence.
The defendants in this case, a husband and wife, pleaded guilty to subjecting their neighbour to abuse which targeted her disabilities, ranging from abuse relating to her health and personal capabilities to accusing her of not being disabled. The wife also pleaded guilty to assaulting the neighbour’s partner and was sentenced to a conditional discharge for 12 months. The husband was sentenced to a six-month conditional discharge and a restraining order for 12 months. The defendants were informed that their conditional discharge had been uplifted to reflect the hate crime element of the offence.
Yorkshire & Humberside
The onset of COVID-19 put a stop to face to face Local Scrutiny and Involvement Panel meetings, a primary engagement mechanism to ensure that local communities can input into CPS work, help the CPS support victims and witnesses, and deliver justice locally and nationally.
Engagement with local communities has never been so important due to the known disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and concerning trends in COVID-19 related hate crimes. Identifying an opportunity to utilise digital working to continue panel work, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside piloted an electronic Hate Crime Local Scrutiny and Involvement Panel meeting during National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
The cases were shared with panel members two weeks ahead of the meeting via a secure cloud platform. On the day, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Gale Gilchrist chaired the panel meeting via MS Teams. Having already had sight of the cases, the panel were able to spend more time discussing each case and the length of the meeting was shortened overall. The panel’s feedback has been shared with our Prosecutors as well as the police to help improve casework quality, and a second electronic panel meeting has been scheduled to take place in January 2021.
In December CPS Wessex delivered some in-school sessions to a primary school in Hampshire for children with learning disabilities. The school reported that since lockdown 1 they had experienced an increase in the use of racist language amongst their pupils. We supported the school by delivering 4 sessions to the children on hate crime and the impact that racist language has on victims. We will continue to engage with the school with further follow up sessions in partnership with Hampshire Police. Following on from that session we have been contacted by another primary school in Hampshire through the Safer Schools network who is also experiencing an increase in racist language in their pupils and we will be delivering virtual sessions to school pupils at the end of the month. We are also meeting with Dorset Police to explore rolling this programme to schools in Dorset too.
We have formed a Race Confidence Community Group with Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority community members across Wessex, after conducting a listening exercise with them in September. We are working with them on a number of issues; hate crime being one of them. We have been able to explain CPS processes in respect of decision making and case work and hope to hold a bespoke Hate Crime panel with them later this year. Hate crime in school is a theme that is of particular concern to our community members and they have asked the CPS to support them in educating others around hate crime and the impact it has on the community and our victims. We are working in partnership with the community to identify areas, education establishments and groups to work with to deliver sessions on hate crime.
CPS North West
Greater Manchester Hate Crime Awareness Week 2021 took place from 1-7 February 2021. This year we supported more events than any previous year and engaged with hundreds and hundreds of people in different ways!
Here is a summary of the community activities that took place last week:
- Martin Goldman launched the week alongside Deputy Mayor, Bev Hughes and CI Umer Khan. The link to the launch can be found here and Martin’s part can be found 14 mins in.
- Hate Crime Lead, Marnat Ali presented at a webinar on Online Hate alongside Counter Terrorist Policing and Centre for Countering Digital Hate. The feedback from this session has been fantastic!
- Hate Crime Coordinator, Karen Saffman delivered a session on how we prosecute hate crime to professionals across housing, heath service and local authority workers. We have been asked to put another session on for University of Manchester staff in March.
- Disability Community Scrutiny Panel – LSIPs raise awareness of how we make decisions and invite community scrutiny of our casework.
- As part of the Bolton Hate Crime Pilot, we took part in our first ever Facebook Live session answering community questions on how the criminal justice system prosecutes hate crime. Marnat Ali, Melissa King and Jonathan Tipton supported this fast-paced session!
- Cultural competency training was provided to North West staff by Caribbean and African Health Network
- Martin Goldman was a guest speaker at the Sunday Night Live event which is streamed across synagogues to build public confidence on how we deal with hate crime and how we are raising our profile within Jewish communities
- Nicola Durham delivered a session to Salford’s LGBT Youth group which will also inspire the content of a film they are going to be producing over the coming weeks.
- An awareness session with the Friendship Circle which is a group supporting young Jewish adults with disabilities.
Gemma Rice, Inclusion and Community Engagement Manager said “I want to thank everybody who has been involved in supporting the North West’s contribution to Greater Manchester’s Hate Crime Awareness week 2021. I rely on volunteers and managers releasing staff to be able to offer such a fantastic programme of events!”
Josie O’Driscoll: Chief Officer Gate Herts and Report Racism GRT
Hate as 'Regular as Rain’ is a research project into the psychological effects of hate crime in Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities, which was commissioned by GATE Herts from Buckinghamshire New University after successfully securing government funding for their Report Racism GRT project. The study was brought about after reports of a spike in young people dying by or attempting suicide during 2019.
An emergent body of research on other BAME communities on detrimental mental and physical health occasioned by experiences of racism (e.g. Wallace et. al (2016, UK)) found that even two significant incidents of racism/discrimination reduced mental wellbeing amongst BAME victims of hate crimes by 2.35% compared to people who hadn’t had such experiences. Accordingly, we argue that our data further reinforces previous evidence for other populations, that being a victim of hate crime has a greater impact on the emotional wellbeing of victims than non-hate crimes, with potentially devastating effects which may be linked to and exacerbate the risk of suicide.
Community respondents said hate incidents included social media abuse (87%), bullying of family members (78%) and racial hatred following media reports (82%). A spike in cases submitted to the Report Racism GRT hate crime project followed the broadcast of the channel 4 Dispatches programme, The Truth About Traveller Crime, in April 2020, with 45 cases that month and a total of 92 additional reported cases of hate crime/speech between February and May 2020.
As a result of the toxic combination of ‘normalisation’ of hate incidents and a lack of trust in the police and other authorities, often including schools, to take any action on complaints of hate crime/speech, only 10% of survey respondents indicated that they would formally report hate crime and hate speech incidents. 77% of our survey respondents indicated that the commonality of their experience represented another reason for not reporting hate crimes or hate speech
78% of our survey respondents suggest that incidents of hate speech/crime happen very often (with some comments suggesting this took place on a constant or daily basis). 18% selected ‘often’ and only 3% of respondents indicated ‘sometimes’.
Most common forms of hate speech/crime the survey participants experienced:
- Exclusion and discrimination from and within services (e.g. health, education) experienced by 94% of respondents
- Reinforcement of negative stereotypes experienced by 89% of respondents
- Social media abuse, experienced by 87% of respondents
- Media incitement to racial hatred, experienced by 82% of respondents
Concerningly, given that bullying in school is associated with poor outcomes and adverse childhood experiences, 78% of respondents highlighted school bullying as significant hate related incidents experienced by themselves and/or their children E.g. early and life-long victimisation through hate incidents.
Key findings: Mental Health, wellbeing and suicide
Participants in this study repeatedly stressed the persistent grinding and demoralising effect of hate crime/hate speech and discriminatory representations of their communities on their lives.
We asked our survey participants if they were able to identify the most common reactions of GTR community members to experiencing hate speech/crime Sixty-eight out of 88 respondents (77%) provided additional comments which, whilst often overlapping, can essentially be broken down into the following categories:
Mental health impacts:
- Withdrawal from, anger and suspicion of ‘mainstream’ society;
- Learning to ‘live with it’;
- 'Self-medication’/harmful behaviours (emphasis on masculinities).
The findings add a highly nuanced and persuasive layer of evidence to the suggestion both that Gypsies and Travellers are more likely than not to be over-represented in figures for those taking their own lives, and also that hate speech/hate crime are an exacerbating factor precipitating suicide in these populations.
Louise Holden Disability Hate Crime Manager
Statistics are unreliable when it comes to hate crime against Disabled people. The challenges for Disabled people to report during lockdown increased with the multiple impacts of every area of life being disrupted due to COVID19.
Inclusion London conducted extensive research into the multiple impacts of COVID19 on Disabled people and found that they are the largest percentage of the population directly impacted. The highest death rate from COVID19 is within the Disabled community. When you put being attacked just for being who you are into the equation, it makes for depressing reading.
What we know about hate crime against Disabled people includes:
- agencies often don’t recognise what’s happening as a crime;
- so-called ‘low level’ incidents can quickly escalate into crime;
- it can happen in care homes and institutions;
- it can be downgraded to safeguarding, especially when family or ‘friends’ are involved;
- hostility is harder to prove;
- the impact on mental health is higher than other crimes;
- current legislation lacks parity and clarity.
All these factors still exist during COVID19 with additional increased reports of Disabled children being targeted by neighbours, and Disabled people being targeted for not wearing facemasks or just for being outside during the pandemic, seen as ‘virus spreaders’ or somehow too vulnerable to even be outside.
The National Lottery Community Fund agreed to a restructure of our funding during COVID19. The aim is to set up a London-wide data collation from DDPOs involved in anti-hate crime work and explore in more detail the reasons for low reporting. This project is funded for two years and will provide a robust data set for policymakers and funders to better understand the impact of hate crime in the community and how we can improve our response. We are currently recruiting to the post who will lead on this work.
Our partnership works on the assumption that DHC is a daily experience for many Disabled people and will continue to support DDPOs with capacity building, campaign and policy work and representation to ensure hate crime against Disabled people gets the attention and response needed.
Imam Qari Asim MBE: deputy chair of Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group; chair of Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board; and the Independent Adviser to the Government on the definition of Islamophobia.
Coronavirus has made us overcome challenges we did not expect or envisage as we started the new decade. A frustrating and painful time for many, but the protection of human life was the shared priority across the country. Staying at home has been everyone’s sacrifice.
However, even during such unprecedented times, hatred and Islamophobia continues to challenge our communities. The Home Office hate crime data report indicates that the volume of religiously aggravated hate crime recorded by the police in 2019/20 was 6,822 offences. Of these, the same report highlights that 50% of cases are targeted at Muslims.
This hostility is staggering, especially considering BAME communities have been disproportionally affected by Coronavirus and Muslims are among those on the frontline of the NHS and emergency services. We also experienced extremist far right groups exploiting concerns around Coronavirus to provoke anti-Muslim hatred and divisions by, for instance, spreading rumours of mosques being open when they were not, making unsubstantiated claims that cases of coronavirus would increase because of the Muslim community, and most recently the spread of conspiracy theories around the vaccine.
During this pandemic, we also saw terms such as ‘CoronaJihad’ and Muslim images irrelevant to the pandemic, such as a mosque or a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf, accompanied COVID-19 stories. These images convey subtle, indirect messages linking Muslims to deadly contagion. These hateful narratives threaten to undermine the vital work of so many in supporting the national effort in tackling the pandemic. The immunity of our societies against the virus of hate is much desired.
No one, or one group should ever be unnecessarily targeted or marginalised. I have seen a real dedication by communities to show those who seek to spread hatred and divide us that we will not turn on each other and instead work together on shared values, as one society. It is exactly these efforts and the inbuilt strength of the British people that gives me hope that Islamophobia and other forms of hatred will not be tolerated in our society.
Lisa Yeung-Donaldson, Project Director, on behalf of Chinese Welfare Trust
The British Chinese, East and Southeast Asian communities (BCESEA) have taken a robust and progressive approach to combating soaring Covid-related hate crimes and incidents directed at their community members.
Recognising the need to rapidly scale up capacity and address community concerns, Chinese Welfare Trust together with Newham Chinese Association and Protection Approaches, set up a national project called ‘Confronting Covid-related hate’ in September 2020, involving an alliance of 21 BCESEA community organisations across England. It seeks to upskill staff and volunteers on their knowledge around hate crime, as well as implement best practice in supporting victims and witnesses of hate crime. Equally important, the project aims to increase confidence among BCESEA community members to take appropriate action, including reporting, and to improve communication with local law enforcement.
To mark the conclusion of the national hate crime project, a video conference is being planned for March to bring all 24 organisations in the project to share best practice. With the support of an independent Review Group, longer-term sustainable strategies will be explored, including the formation of a national hub-like network of local hate crime reporting or support centres.
CPS Hate Crime Q2 2020/21 Rolling Year To Date data
Gate Herts research: Hate 'As Regular as Rain'
A pilot research project into the psychological effects of hate crime on Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) communities. A report commissioned by GATE HERTS and funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities
and Local Government (MHCLG) ©Carol Rogers Margaret Greenfields and Carol Rogers, December 2020
Galop National Helpline
- Galop’s LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline is open Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm. Contact the Helpline on 020 7704 2040 or email HateCrime@galop.org.uk
- The National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline is open Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm, at 0800 999 5428 or at email@example.com
- You can refer yourself to Galop’s advocacy services by filling in this form - www.galop.org.uk/report
- Resources and more information are available on our website: www.galop.org.uk
Community Security Trust
The Community Security Trust published its most recent Antisemitic Incidents Report 2020 which shows that last year CST recorded 1,668 antisemitic incidents across the UK. Despite this being an 8% fall in antisemitic incidents, largely due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, 2020 was still the third-highest annual total CST has ever recorded.
From Tell MAMA’s most recent newsletter:
“For this #No2h8November we partnered with TikTok, the Community Security Trust (CST), the Anti-Bullying Alliance, Glitch, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, GALOP, and the Antisemitism Policy Trust, in the powerful new campaign aimed at building bonds of mutuality and support by doing the following: “Call it out, report it, support victims, and join us in saying #No2H8.” The campaign videos, under the hashtag #No2h8, have been viewed over 71 million times! We could not do that without your help. So, get involved, and spread the #No2h8 message on TikTok, and let us create a space where we stand together against hate speech, hatred, and discrimination, no matter how it manifests.”
BCESEA community organisations
Other efforts of self-organisation have sprung up elsewhere across the BCESEA communities. A free and confidential helpline has been set up in London to provide remote counselling to victims and witnesses of hate crime. A volunteer-led effort in building a Chinese-English bilingual website to provide accessible information in one place received a warm welcome from various quarters of the community. A campaign has been set up to address 'secondary victimisation' in the criminal justice system and the idea of a resource network with legal expertise to aid victims of hate crime is also being explored.
The arrival of Covid-19 has severely tested, if not entirely lifting the lid on, the idea of the British Chinese as the 'model minority'. It has highlighted long-standing community concerns around hate and prejudice, policing, crime reporting and trust in the wider criminal justice system. These common concerns have galvanised the BCESEA communities to collectively seek change in reshaping community interactions with the wider society.