Hate Crime on The Rise in Time of Political & Social Extremism

Most recent figures from the Home Office* showed a 29% increase in hate crime in England and Wales and these figures have consistently grown. We are going through a time of extremism, politically and socially on both domestic and international fronts and as a result hate crime attacks are sadly on the increase.

In the UK the Brexit issue has led to increased attacks on non-British people and the recent antisemitism row in Labour emboldens people to feel empowered to attack Jewish groups. The current US president seems to thrive on being combative and aggressive, #Metoo has created greater awareness and inequalities in wealth and power have grown. Leading psychotherapist Noel McDermott believes that when people feel they are excluded they look for scapegoats and more crimes like this are committed.

Hate Crime

What is a Hate Crime?

Hate crimes are linked in the UK to the 9 equality strands – age, disability, gender, race and ethnicity, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sexual orientation and gender reassignment. If a crime happens and there is evidence that this happened because of one of these issues e.g. an assault happens on a male homosexual couple, it would not just be an assault but a hate crime.

Psychotherapist Noel McDermott comments: “Sadly these equality strands are groups of people in society who are institutionally targeted and seen as being “less than” by hate crime perpetrators – they are regarded as “the other” rather than “us” – with the white heterosexual able-bodied male seen as the template for the most privileged individual”.

Why do people commit hate crimes?

Unsurprisingly we know there are high risk groups of people who commit crime such as those who feel marginalised in some way (often economic or cultural marginalisation) or those who feel socially isolated. For these perpetrators we must look at what is happening to the human being inside to understand them. A loving connection is missing and often these individuals have trauma issues and will need specialist treatment to help to deal with this or they will become more isolated or dangerous.

We have only to look at gang crime and the crime-ridden estates in London. These young people have been brutalised and groomed some even from as young as 9 years old, their initiation rites will involve shooting a stranger or assaulting a friend as part of the recruitment procedure. Often these kids will have high levels of trauma and will have flashbacks to their own abuse whilst committing their crimes. Untreated PTSD creates aggression, and this is a huge factor in violence and the rise in hate crimes.

Traits of a hate crimes perpetrator

  • Previous exposure to and involvement in violence is the biggest single predictor of current risk of perpetrating violence
  • Poverty or extreme wealth where people may exist in closed sub groups can lead to extreme views of the other not being challenged
  • Isolation from the mainstream
  • Anger management issues

Generally, people who are likely to go on to commit a hate crime will be vocal about their prejudicial views and be prone to creating an image of themselves as somehow victimised by the groups they hate.

Noel is as a great advocate of awareness weeks such as National Hate Crime Awareness Week (13th-20th October). He believes it is essential that we have public education. The damage of a hate crime to the individual who is targeted is huge and impacts on our society and these public education campaigns challenge this behaviour.  He says: “This week highlights the issues to the public to get the conversation going, the more open we are about these issues the better. Additionally, they will encourage victims to come forward. The campaigns can focus on issues of current concern and combat misinformation with fact”.

What to do if you are a victim of a hate crime

As with any crime it should be reported it to the police. With hate crime there is increased monitoring so it’s helpful to report small things such as verbal abuse in public. If it’s abuse about one of the protected characteristics, it is considered a hate crime. Additionally, the victim may want to seek specialist counselling for the experience. In general, this type of crime exists within the context of larger issues of discrimination that will have been faced by the victim in their lifetime and as such they may have an ‘aggravated’ response. It is possible that victims will have experienced this kind of discrimination before and a hate crime can be very damaging for the individual’s mental health.

Be aware that if after two weeks the victim experiences things such as intrusive thoughts about the incident, a general sense of wariness, a tendency to be jumpy, being short tempered, emotionally labile, trouble with sleep, changes in diet and habit, avoidance of activities or things that remind them of the event, then they are showing signs of anxiety and will need help to overcome this. Long term stress can kill and in some cases victims can suffer extreme reactions such as self-harming and a fear of leaving the house, this needs to be taken very seriously.

Noel McDermott is a pioneering health and social care professional with over 25 years of industry experience. He is passionate about bringing high quality care and support to those who are vulnerable. Noel’s areas of expertise include social care, mental health, child care, refugees, trauma, addiction and recovery, distance therapy, personal development and emotional health and wellbeing.

EDITOR’S NOTES:

Disability and Employment

Disability can be a difficult topic to speak about especially when it comes to employment. Employers are often thinking what are the best practices when employing someone with a disability so in this blog we are going to be speaking about the recruitment and employment of people with disabilities.

Disability and Employment

What is a disability?

There are many types of disability. Too many to name, but there are several umbrella terms to disability, which are sensory, physical, mental and learning.

Here are some examples:

Sensory – Vision and Hearing Impairment
Physical – Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes
Mental – Depression, Anxiety
Learning – Dyslexia, Dyscalculia

Just to make it even more complicated there are variants within this as some people like myself have more than one disability from multiple categories. To make it even more complicated than that, long-term health conditions are also considered as a disability.

Not all disabilities are visible; there are also many invisible disabilities for example depression or HIV.

Legislation – The Equality Act 2010

The government created legislation in 2010 that protects people with disabilities from discrimination both in and outside of the workplace.

Not every disability or health condition is protected by The Equality Act 2010 and the following definition should be applied:

‘’You are disabled under the ‘Equality Act 2010’ if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ adverse effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.’’

When working alongside people with disabilities in employment you will hear the term ‘reasonable adjustment’. The Equality Act 2010 states that employers and service providers must make reasonable adjustments to prevent people with disabilities being put at severe disadvantage.

So your now thinking what does a reasonable adjustment look like?

For a national organisation, which employs a person with a physical disability, a reasonable adjustment might be step free access to enter and exit a building. However if an independent shop employed this person, it might be more reasonable for the shop to provide the employee with a wheelchair ramp for them to enter and exit a building.

Now the word reasonable is a very grey term because what is reasonable to one person is not necessarily reasonable to another and there are also considerations to how large the employer is. However there are ways in which to seek this information to inform your decisions if as an employer you wish to ensure you are abiding by the rules, regulations and best practice.

 Fair and accessible

In order for us to recruit people with disabilities we must make the recruitment process fair and accessible. Some employers don’t realise that before a candidate with a disability gets to the job interview stage, there are multiple barriers that they face for example job adverts being inaccessible. In some cases job adverts have excluded people with disabilities by stating such things as you must hold a valid driving license. This isn’t completely true as somebody with a disability may have access to a vehicle and may be entitled to a driver funded by access to work.

There are some people with disabilities who would require the advert in a different format for example by having someone read out the information via the telephone and some people use email as an alternative method. In most adverts there are contact details listed at the bottom of the advert. Is this person well informed about the job and are they able to provide the advert in an alternative format?

The job interview comes with multiple barriers for people with disabilities. Some people with disabilities may find it difficult to get to a job interview for a number of reasons for example they haven’t secured the job with you in order to have access to funding that may enable them to get to work on time, they may have recognised the job advert at short notice and arranging support to enable them to attend the interview could prove difficult. Advances in technology such as Skype or the good old telephone may prove invaluable in opening up this job opportunity to a wider field of candidates.

Advertising equals diversity

Ensuring the way your job is advertised in more than one place is key. Most providers promote their job adverts on one particular platform. How about having a multi-layered approach by advertising your advert on multiple platforms. Some may pose the question that this could be costly for organisations but forums for people with disabilities, social media, and many other advertising channels are sometimes free and provide the opportunity to create a diverse workforce, as inevitably you will get different types of candidates.

Is it all about physical adjustments?

Often those involved in making the recruitment process accessible fixate on physical adjustments such as step free access, lifts, hearing loops, which are the very obvious ones. Although they are still very valuable there is much more to recruiting someone with a disability than this. Being aware of the way in which you speak to someone with a disability, maintaining eye contact and also looking in the candidates general direction when they are vision impaired. It is often the case that because the candidate has limited eyesight the interviewer doesn’t maintain eye contact. By treating someone fairly and with the same level of enthusiasm as a non-disabled candidate, will ensure better rapport. Furthermore if that candidate is then successful in achieving the job there is a better impression of the organisation on the run up to the candidate accepting the position.

Interviewing candidates for a job requires a vast amount of skills in which some people often miss out. Interviewers must recognise their own unconscious biases and have a certain amount of self-awareness to ensure fair treatment for all.

Top tips:

  • Ensuring that job adverts are accessible
  • To hold the job interviews in an accessible location
  • To hold yourself in the same way you would when interviewing someone who doesn’t have a disability

To find out more about making your recruitment process accessible you may wish to attend Disability Awareness Training.

Written by Centre for Resolution