Thank you to those who have contacted me recently about hate crime and whether there is a need to make current legislation more effective. I do appreciate this is a deeply important and sensitive issue and I’m proud that this country is built on the historic values of unity, inclusivity, tolerance and mutual respect.
Hate crime, in all its forms, goes directly against these values and it is completely unacceptable that anyone in our society should live in fear of intimidation or violence. As such, we must stand up for diversity and face down discrimination wherever we see it.
Since the publication of the Hate Crime Action Plan in 2016 I have been encouraged by the progress that has been made, which has seen an increase in reporting and improvements in identification and recording of crime by the police. There is still a way to go and further work is underway on this issue such as the wide-ranging Law Commission review into hate crime. The review seeks to identify any gaps within the current legislation and determine whether sex or gender should be added to hate crime law. The Government will of course consider the review’s recommendations when they are complete.
In addition, on an experimental basis, police forces will be asked to identify and record any crimes of violence against the person, including stalking and harassment, as well as sexual offences where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex or gender. I understand that Ministers will shortly begin the consultation with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and forces on this with a view to commencing the experimental collection of data from this autumn. While this is not making misogyny a hate crime, it can inform longer-term decisions once the Government has considered the recommendations made by the Law Commission.
There is of course always more work to do and it’s therefore good news that the Home Secretary has appointed Nimco Ali as an Independent Adviser on Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls. Nimco Ali will advise the Home Secretary and other ministers on the government’s new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. I’ve been assured that ministers will be bringing forward the new strategy this year.
In light of recent events, the Government also reopened a call for evidence to further collect views from those with lived experience of, or views on, crimes considered as violence against women and girls. The consultation previously ran for 10 weeks from December to February but was reopened to allow the public another opportunity to share their views. Rest assured that the feedback from the consultation will be analysed thoroughly and we will work hard to ensure that our legislation protects women and girls from violence and discrimination.
I want to assure you that I agree there is still more to do and I will be paying close attention to the important work which is underway.
Thank you again to those who took the time to contact me about this important issue