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8th November 2018

Reporting hate crimes: what you need to know

The Student Union’s Advice Services share how to report a hate crime and where to find support for victims.
Reporting hate crimes: what you need to know
Photo: Students’ Union Advice Services

Emmeline Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, Elizabeth Gaskell, Marie Stopes, Carol Ann Duffy, Maxine Peake: Manchester is shaped by women.

As a city that claims“things are done differently here”, Manchester has a long and proud history of women working for equality and recognition. Nationally, there is renewed debate over another chink in the armour protecting inequality in society – specifically, how society deals with hate and how women experience misogyny. It is important to note that currently hate based on gender (other than transgender identity) is not considered a crime. Currently hate crimes and incidents cover those motivated by disability, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and subculture identity.

The current debate is about whether misogyny or hate based on gender should be adopted under the conditions of other recognised hate crimes. Chief Constable Sara Thornton, commenting in the Metro and The Independent, questioned “whether a criminal offence is the best way of dealing with what is essentially an issue about how we all treat each other” and that police should “bear down on violence before [they] make more records of incidents that are not crimes”. This sentiment has been echoed by other senior police, noting that recording hate incidents may be desirable but there are not the resources to support this. These are concerning arguments as they ignore the escalation of hate.

Online abuse, verbal abuse, and slurs build to physical violence, arson and other serious crimes as perpetrators become more confident through committing acts. Conversely, witnesses or victims of hate are made increasingly vulnerable if they are unable to get help early making them more susceptible to further attack.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime or incident (under the current definition), you can report it. The Students’ Union Advice Service can help you with this. We understand that reporting can be intimidating, especially if you are the target of the abuse. However, we would encourage students to report because this helps to understand the extent of hate crimes and incidents. Reporting can lessen the likelihood of others also experiencing similar incidents.

You can report a hate crime/incident if you are the victim, a witness or on behalf of someone else. The easiest way to report is online.  Just go to the information website Report It and click the red ‘Report Hate Crime’ button. Alternatively, you can use the Students’ Union Advice Service, which is a Third Party Reporting Centre.

The Students’ Union Advice Service is here to:

  • Assist in reporting hate crime/incidents
  • Support you by reflecting or discussing what you have witnessed or been a victim of, regardless of whether you want to report what happened;
  • Support victims of bullying, harassment or discrimination, whether from staff or another student. This includes making a formal complaint through the University system. If you feel that you have been subjected to bullying, harassment or discrimination, you can make a complaint. Indeed, The University recognises harassment, discrimination or victimisation because of your gender as grounds for a formal complaint. Contact the Advice Service to find out how we can support you.
  • Provide support in applying for Mitigating Circumstances if, as a result of abuse due to your gender or identity, your academic performance has been affected.
  • Direct you to and talk through other support services that can continue support
  • Talk through the various support options with you if you are not sure which is best for your needs.

Currently the law does not recognise gender-based hate as a hate crime, and therefore it cannot be reported as such. Manchester already has a good record of acknowledging hate in society. Greater Manchester Police were the first force in the country to start recording hate based on subculture membership. This example should continue for gendered hate. The Students’ Union Advice Service recognises the prevalence and seriousness of this issue.

You can contact the Advice Service on [email protected] or call 0161 275 2952.

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