Creating a fairer Britain
This is an emergent challenge. Though hate crime is not a new phenomenon, this is a new challenge in as much as legislative changes have only recently provided the means to take effective action to address certain forms of hate crime (such as disability hate crime), and its true extent may only now be becoming clear as people grow increasingly confident to report it. Hate crime is still significantly under-reported and its victims rarely see justice done. There are some indications that hate crimes can cause greater psychological harm to victims thansimilar crimes without a motivation of prejudice,1 and they can affect more people than the direct victims themselves by creating a climate of fear for people sharing a protected characteristic, and marring good relations between different groups.
At school, young people with disabilities and special educational needs are most at risk of being bullied, and two-thirds of lesbian, gay and transgender secondary school students report that they have been victims of often severe bullying (17% of those bullied reported having received death threats). The same groups are most likely to report bullying or harassment in the workplace. Being bullied at school can have serious consequences for a young person’s life chances. Those who report being bullied in England did 15% worse at GCSE, and were twice as likely to be not in education, employment or training at aged 16.
The British Crime Survey estimates that over 85,000 rapes take place each year in England and Wales alone. The victims in more than 90% of reported rapes are women. Fewer than 1 in 5 incidents will be reported to the police. Raising the rate of rape convictions has long been recognised as a challenge; the rate has begun to improve in recent years, but there is still some way to go until it matches the conviction rates of other similar offences.
Women were the victims of just under three-quarters (73%) of the domestic violence recorded in the 2009/10 British Crime Survey. Three-quarters (76%) of all incidents of domestic violence in England and Wales were repeat offences. Domestic violence is an assault on basic human rights. It can compromise not only on an individual’s physical safety, but their sense of worth, independence, and confidence. Quite apart from the devastating impact, research has estimated that the economic costs to society of domestic violence (including lower productivity and increased demand on services) total close to £6bn each year.2
This challenge is illustrated by the following case studies: