Knowledge-based responses to hate crime in housing
Hate crime is increasing. It affects all communities. Residents may turn to their housing provider to report, seek support and want action to be taken that stops hate incidents. Kusminder Chahal of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, describes a new knowledge exchange project to support housing providers respond to hate crime.
Hate crime reporting and recording is currently focused on five monitored strands which have legal protection namely disability, religion, race, sexual orientation and transgender identity. The Home Office annual figures on hate crime show an increase of over 30 per cent in the previous three years up to 2017/18 of 94,098 recorded incidents. Close to 75 per cent are race related and there has been increased reporting across all the five protected characteristics.
There have been calls to expand legal protection to cover groups that are not currently protected by existing laws. The government has invited the Law Commission to conduct a review of the current laws, who they protect, and how they could be reformed to work more effectively, and focus on whether the monitored strands should be expanded to cover characteristics such as sex and gender, being an older person or other characteristics?
There is a growing evidence base on hate crime. Research suggests that near 80 per cent of hate crime is unreported. Many incidents occur in and around people’s homes. Hate crime has a disproportionate emotional and mental health impact on its victims compared to parallel crimes. It has an effect beyond the victim sending a message to the targeted community that they are unwelcome, not accepted and a threat.
After the EU Referendum in June 2016, a CIH briefing noted that about two-thirds of council and housing association tenants voted for Brexit. The biggest hate crime increases were in areas that voted most strongly to leave the EU.
We know that housing providers are committed to equalities and promoting good relations between communities but how can the available current hate crime research and evidence support and improve housing practitioner responses? What knowledge and skills do housing practitioners need to work with hate crime victims, increase reporting and prevent hate crime?
The government’s recent Hate Crime Strategy recognises the need for sharing expertise and experiences within and across sectors to build an evidence base. This project will build a housing specific hate crime knowledge hub that can be used by practitioners, managers and leaders to have an informed, up to date knowledge and approaches to supporting victims, preventing hate crime and increasing reporting.
If you want to be part of this six month project, receive resources that are developed, showcase good practice approaches to hate crime or share your experiences, please contact Kusminder at Kusminder.firstname.lastname@example.org.