- 2016 National LGBT Conference
- 1 January 2016
Conference believes that all forms of hate crime are abhorrent.
Conference notes the rise of reported hate crime incidents in the United Kingdom (UK). In 2014/15, there were 5,597 ‘sexual orientation’ hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, a rise of 22% on the previous year, and 605 ‘transgender identity’ hate crimes, a rise of 9%.
In 2015/16 the Crown Prosecution Service completed 15,422 hate crime prosecutions – the highest number ever. There was a 41% increase in disability hate crime prosecutions compared to 2014/15; the highest ever proportion of sentence uplifts in racially and religiously aggravated crime cases; and the highest ever conviction rate in homophobic and transphobic hate crime prosecutions. Conference also notes that one hate crime offence may have more than one motivating factor and that disabled lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members can also have hate crime committed against them in relation to their disability. The same report showed a rise of 25% in relation to disability hate crime.
Conference the LGBT community is not immune to hate crime having experienced it in all its ugly forms for centuries. We understand the feelings of being helpless and scared and intimidated.
However, Conference recognises that the vast majority of hate crime incidents go unreported. Under reporting of disability, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime continues to be a significant issue.
Conference further notes damaging cuts to hate crime advice and support services, for example, Lambeth Council has deleted its Hate Crime Prevention Coordinator’s role, effectively ending its proactive preventative work, and the Suffolk Hate Crime Service team has been cut.
Conference therefore calls on the national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) committee to work with the national executive council (NEC) and other appropriate sections of the union to:
1. Promote a message of HOPE across the UK:
A. Hate crime awareness needs to be raised;
B. Operational responses to hate crime need to be improved;
C. Prevention of hate crime needs to be adequately resourced;
D. Empowering communities to have their voices heard, to report hate crime and access hate crime advice and support services;
2. Support the #WeStandTogether #NoPlaceForHate campaign and develop a UNISON version of the campaign, working with other trade unions as appropriate;
3. Promote and support the development of National Hate Crime Awareness Week #NHCAW across the UK;
4. Encourage branches to take a proactive approach to challenge and tackle hate crime in all its forms highlighting the fact that hate crime incidences can have more than one motivating factor;
5. Provide guidance for branches on negotiating policies and procedures relating to hate crime with employers, and for UNISON stewards and workplace representatives on how to recognise hate crime and how to support members who are subjected to hate crimes, including encouraging reporting and access to advice and support services.
Conference further calls on the national LGBT committee to encourage branch and regional groups to:
6. Work with local authorities and with LGBT and other community organisations as appropriate on initiatives and strategies to combat homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and other forms of hate crime;
7. Challenge cuts to hate crime advice and support services;
8. Promote and distribute resources, such as posters and leaflets, to raise awareness of hate crime and seek, where feasible, a designated hate crime section on regional/branch websites;
9. Signpost local, regional and national hate crime advice and support services where appropriate (including the True Vision website);
10. Encourage members to report all hate incidents or hate crimes, either directly to the Police or via a third party reporting centre;
11. Publish step by step guidance on how to report a hate incident or hate crime including what follow up actions members should expect.
12. Organise and/or facilitate hate crime awareness events and activities including #WeStandTogether #NoPlaceForHate events to show solidarity with and support those affected by hate crime.
13. Call on our members to continue to stand up against discrimination wherever it occurs.