Religious hate crime across England and Wales have risen by 40 per cent, new figures show.
There 8,336 such crimes recorded in 2017/18, up from 5,949 offences in the previous reporting year.
Data collection on the perceived religious identity of hate crime victims is now mandatory for police forces in England and Wales but remains experimental, as it excludes the Metropolitan and Lancashire forces, found that 52 per cent of religious hate crime victims were Muslim, with 2,965 offences recorded. The Jewish community was the second biggest target of religious hate crimes with 675 incidents reported (12 per cent)
Lancashire and the Metropolitan Police did provide the Home Office with the actual religion of religious hate crime victims. And the data shows a similar picture with 56 per cent of victims identifying as Muslim, the Jewish community was the second biggest target of religious hate crimes with 675 incidents reported (12 per cent),
Census data in 2011 revealed that 4.8 per cent of the population in England and Wales self-identify as Muslim, with around 0.5 of the population self-identifying as Jewish.
There were 94,098 hate crime offences recorded in 2017/18, with more than two-thirds flagged as racially aggravated.
The analysis found that Muslim adults were more likely to be victims of a racially aggravated hate crime (1.5 per cent) than other adults.
Adults from Asian backgrounds were more likely to be victims of a religiously aggravated hate crime than those from a white ethnic background, according to an analysis of data from several crime surveys, which also found that Muslim adults were more likely to experience religiously aggravated hate crime.
The report notes that growing awareness about hate crime, a growing desire to report incidents, and improvements in crime recording are the main reasons for the rise in reports. But the report acknowledges tangible short-term rises in reports follow ‘trigger events’ like the EU referendum result and the terrorist attacks in 2017.
Data from the combined CSEW surveys found that the risk of personal hate crime was more likely among young people (aged 16 to 24), in particular, men of that age group, and those who identified as Muslim (0.6 per cent) compared to 0.1 per cent of Christian respondents. Examples of repeat victimisation were more likely to be found in household hate crimes offences than for personal hate crime offences. As noted in our 2017 report: “Despite the popular conception that hate crime offences are one-off acts of violence committed by persons unknown to the victim, evidence suggests that hate-motivated victimisation often involves an ongoing process of ‘low-level’ harassment and discrimination.” Which, if left unaddressed, can “escalate into threats and physical violence from neighbours, work colleagues, casual acquaintances and even people in positions of authority.”
Online hate crime reports totalled 1,065 in 2017/18, with 49 per cent of cases motivated by hatred or hostility to sexual orientation.
The number of hate crime reports has more than doubled since 2012/13 (42,255 reports). But the report stresses that the CSEW is a more reliable measure of hate crime in the long-term.
In response, the government has refreshed its Hate Crime Action Plan, which acknowledges that hate crime remains underreported. New measures announced include the wide-ranging Law Commission review into existing hate crime legislation, and a new public awareness campaign to educate on what hate crime is.
The Home Office’s Places of Worship Scheme, which funds improvements for the security of faith institutions, will be extended by one year, with funding awarded to nine churches, twenty-two mosques, two Hindu temples, and twelve Sikh gurdwaras, since the scheme launched in 2016.
The refreshed plan will see changes and improvements to the online reporting hub True Vision. Police call handlers will receive specialist training to better support those who experience hate crime.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Hate crime goes directly against the long-standing British values of unity, tolerance and mutual respect – and I am committed to stamping this sickening behaviour out.
Our refreshed action plan sets out how we will tackle the root causes of prejudice and racism, support hate crime victims and ensure offenders face the full force of the law.”
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) found that just over half of hate crime victims (51 per cent) were very or fairly satisfied with how the police handled the matter, lower than the 69 per cent satisfaction rate for victims of non-aggravated crimes, according to data from the CSEW surveys for 2015/16 and 2017/18. Hate crime victims were more likely to be very unsatisfied with the police handling of their cases (25 per cent) than non-aggravated victims of crime (15 per cent). The Home Office analysis, however, does stress methodological considerations for this disparity in satisfaction rates.
Outcomes for those who face criminal and non-criminal forms of Islamophobia was a key theme in our recent annual report. There was a notable dissatisfaction among many reporting to our service last year (amid positive interactions) with the police, with many citing a lack of communication, unsupportive comments from officers, or a broad dissatisfaction with how officers did not follow-up with victims.
Those reporting to Tell MAMA have sometimes had mental health issues, disabilities, and linguistic barriers which had an impact on their experiences in dealing with agencies which are responsible for protecting them. The impacts of personal and unconscious bias within authorities can not only adversely affect the quality of support given but risks re-victimising vulnerable individuals who may, because of such negative experiences, refuse ever to report to the police again.
Addressing concerns about the impacts of disproportionality are practical steps in rebuilding trust in the justice system, given concerns raised about the use of stop-and-search and anti-terror powers on minority ethnic communities.
In response to these concerns, we published a list of detailed recommendations for public bodies, educational institutions, and employers to tackle Islamophobia, anti-Muslim prejudice, and discrimination.
We verified 72 reports of discrimination last year (9 per cent) which shows how tackling anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia goes beyond hate crime.
Research from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that 70 per cent of Muslims polled (with some methodological caveats due to a sample size of 294) had experienced religious prejudice. More people were willing to express negative sentiment about Gypsies, Roma, and Travellers (44 per cent), Muslims (22 per cent), and transgender people (16 per cent). Just over one-third (33 per cent) of British adults felt that provisions to provide equal opportunities to Muslims had gone ‘too far’, as 18 per cent of Brits felt that the prospect of a Muslim neighbour made them ‘uncomfortable’, with 14 per cent expressing similar anxieties about a transgender person as a neighbour.
In broad terms, sixty per cent of those who had experienced prejudice said that it occurred in social situations with close peers or friends, with almost half (49 per cent) facing prejudice or discrimination at work or in employment. More than one-third (35 per cent) faced prejudice when accessing services like shops, with 25 per cent of people reporting prejudice when using public transport.
Hate crimes targeted at people because of their sexual orientation totalled 12 per cent, with religious hatred at 9 per cent, disability hate crime totalled 8 per cent and transgender hate crimes 2 per cent.