Podcast Episode: Hate crime: causes, motivations and effective interventions
Category: Criminal justice
What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.
MD - Michelle Drumm
RH - Rania Hamad - City of Edinburgh Council
RH First of all, the Scottish Government allotted money for Criminal Justice Social Work to sort of strengthen their community interventions, and Criminal Justice Social Work in Edinburgh decided to use that funding to undertake research into hate crime and the Criminal Justice Social Work response to that and how do we strengthen our interventions when working with offenders and perpetrators - I’ll use those terms, they are sometimes a bit value laden but just for ease of reference. Hate crime really, I mean in Scotland it’s become, well, Police Scotland it’s an absolute priority which is stated on their website in terms of tackling hate crime - they’ve got specialist divisions for it now. It’s in recognition of the fact that hate crime, the harms caused by hate crime, all the research kind of says that it’s more detrimental to victims and communities than sort of parallel crimes. So, if you’ve got a similar type of offence - say for example an assault - what the research is saying is that if that’s an assault and you’re targeted because of an identity characteristic then the harms of that can be greater, and what’s classed as vicarious trauma for family members and community members with the same identity characteristics. For example, a Muslim woman who’s quite often targeted because she’s quite visible. Other women in her community then might feel “well I might be targeted because”, you know, so it has far reaching consequences just beyond the actual person who’s been affected. Also it’s really timely because the legislation for hate crime at the moment is under review by Lord Bracadale, so he’s looking at by January next year looking at whether we need to include other protected characteristics in hate crime, so there’s a real focus on it in Scotland and what Criminal Justice Social Work, we really have a part to play in that in terms of a service at the forefront of working with offenders and obviously promoting rehabilitation of offenders, but also protecting victims and communities from further harm.
RH So really that was the main purpose and what I’d found through their, well even the beginnings of my research, is there’s literally been no research into Criminal Justice Social Work in Scotland and how we deal with and tackle hate crime at all. So, it’s felt that it was a really kind of innovative and timely piece of work really to look into that.
MD Okay, yeah. Interesting. And so how would you define hate crime?
RH So the official definition of hate crime is it is a crime motivated by malice or ill will towards a social group, and that’s the definition used by Police Scotland and the Scottish Government. What they then, the caveat to that as well is that it’s the motivation of the perpetrator is the key thing to that. So, the person actually doesn’t have to belong to a minority group for, you know, it’s what the perpetrator’s kind of saying and doing and their actions that defines the offence and in Scotland we have under the legislation five protected characteristics that are the aggravations of a hate crime. So, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity, and as I said the legislation’s under review to see do we include other characteristics within that, recognising other groups of people can be targeted for their identity characteristics as well.
MD Sure. What kind of methodology then is used for the literature review itself?
RH So I undertook a literature review as you said, which covered lots of the academic work out there - journal articles and so on, books and what they call grey literature, you know, the kind of policy documents - a lot of that actually. Because it had been some time - I’ve been a practitioner for nine years in social work, so it had been some time that I’d undertaken a dissertation or something like that, such a large piece of work. So, I did consult a book on literature reviews in social work which guided me a little bit, so returning to academia was interesting. As I said, I retained a Scottish focus whenever possible while looking at the statistics and so on. So, I accessed Crown Office statistics and as much Scottish literature as I could, but I also looked at English and Northern Irish literature particularly when looking at interventions for hate crime, because Scotland has very little and not a lot of research, never mind just interventions. So, I also gathered data to provide a context for it and make it relevant for Edinburgh where I obviously work. I gathered data from the statistics we have in Criminal Justice Social Work in Edinburgh, so for example the amounts of offenders that we have currently on Community Payback Order - which is a court order for a hate offence - or the amounts of reports the teams were preparing for the Sheriff Court on a hate offence as well. So, looking at that, and I also informally consulted with seven Criminal Justice Social Work employees who were working with offenders at that time who’d been convicted of hate-based offences. So, I say informally because it wasn’t quality of research as such. I didn’t do sort of semi-structured interviews, I just kind of spoke and got a feel for how they …
MD (… unclear) kind of recording …
RH I wasn’t at this stage, no. I would be interested to do that but just in the interests of time and the scope of the research we just did it in that way. It was people that in the team I had formally been in before undertaking this secondment, so I knew them well, they were my colleagues. We were able to get a chat about just how they felt about working with people who had been convicted of hate offences and things. So, I also had meetings with professionals and stakeholders in the field, so Procurator Fiscal office - I went to speak to them, Police Scotland, Victim Support, a Muslim women’s organisation, and I had a lot of correspondence as well with people. If it wasn’t meetings then correspondence with the sort of academics in the field as well, and I had guidance via the Knowledge Exchange Fellowship with the University of Edinburgh. So that involved monthly meetings with my two - Dr Steve Kirkwood and Dr Michael Rosie, who are my sort of mentors if you will, who guided me in the research and there were some limitations. I didn’t speak directly to victims or perpetrators - again it was out with the scope of the review and obviously they needed ethics for that, and I didn’t look at all the literature that was possible and some of the stakeholders didn’t get back to me so I didn’t keep chasing things up because again for time.
MD And so what is the scope and nature of hate crime?
RH Hate crime is underreported like many types of crime as you’ll know, and there’s some barriers to reporting by victims such as fear of kind of reprisals from the perpetrator, not really knowing what a hate crime is. It’s all well and good for me to reel off what it is but actually a lot of the public and professionals if I’m honest don’t know really what it is and what defines it. So, it is underreported as well as the rise of internet hate crime and hate speech. It’s massive and it outnumbers in the physical world in terms of offences the online stuff, and that’s very difficult to police to monitor. What I did was I looked at the figures from last year for Scotland that were produced by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and that was charges, so it’s offences that not necessarily had an outcome at that point, just charges for hate offences, and actually there was just over five and a half thousand reported across all of the five strands - race, sexual orientation, religion, disability and transgender identity. The most commonly reported is just under four thousand is racially aggravated offending, and all of the reports have increased apart from there’s a slight decrease in the racially aggravated reports, but all the rest saw an increase in the last year. A worrying trend for me looking at the data was that there was a three percent increase in religiously aggravated offences, but coming under that was an eighty-nine percent increase in Islamic-based abuse. You know, it’s thinking about what is that about, is that to do with political rhetoric media, all of that causes.
MD European Union?
RH European Union - there was a spike, there was a known spike that had been well established in hate crime reported after the Brexit, as it was termed. Another thing actually on that, certainly in England it was reported, so Brexit I suppose it was seen to be that it was kind of the racial and religious, you know, kind of tensions so to speak, but actually there was a hundred and forty-seven percent increase in reports of homophobic hate crime in the wake of the European Union referendum votes, which was really interesting.
MD It’s really interesting isn’t it?
RH Absolutely, which sort of researchers were saying that it just shows that there was hostility beyond just the kind of racial and religious sort of divides that were around the Brexit issue that drifting into the causes of it now, but there can be a justification for targeting groups that are deemed to be minorities or deemed to be kind of not the norm when things like that, when there’s a political rhetoric around other groups. So really worrying and, you know, there’s always going to be kind of spikes in it. Hate crime, it does encompass all types of offending in terms of the nature of it right from low level stuff to, you know, to fatal violence, fatal harm, but quite often what captures public attention is when it’s the most extreme, you know, manifestations of it which can then obscure the, as I said earlier, that everyday sort of ordinary prejudice or incidents that happen to people. It can occur everywhere - city centres, streets, parks, people’s homes, public transport’s a big one. I know that Edinburgh and Glasgow have public transport sort of charters to eradicate hate crime on public transport. I’ve pulled some things from the literature in terms of the more unique aspects of hate crime, the nature of hate crime as opposed to other offending. One of the concepts is around intersectionality, where a victim may be targeted due to more than one of their identity characteristics. So, an example would be somebody who’s Muslim but also Asian or they might be someone who’s got a disability and are gay or, you know, any number of kind of different interceding characteristics, and it can then make it difficult what the literature says in terms of recording what type, in inverted commas, of crime that that may be. It kind of reduces people into one category when that’s just not the case and really the argument is can we ever have legislation that covers all of the reasons why people might be targeted. There’s some really interesting literature on what could be classed as a hate crime targeted against homeless people, sex workers … Police in England actually monitor hate offences against alternative subcultures such as goths and punks and things as well because people are targeted for those parts of their identities. It’s really interesting, you know, and the timely review of the legislation actually in Scotland had a look at that. I touched on the internet as well in terms of hate crime, and we can’t ignore it because it’s become a real forum for dissemination of hate speech and for people who share an ideology of hate kind of coming together - it’s cost effective, you don’t have to move off your armchair - but it can be really wide ranging and harmful and it dwarfs the number of actual offences in the real physical world. There was some data from a website that tracked homophobic tweets over a four-year period of 2012 to 2016, and there were thirty-four million tweets on Twitter with the word “faggot” used …
RH … in for example, yeah, and high numbers of anti-Islamic hostility online and as with other types of internet offending, does it mean that someone will then go on to offend in the real world? And the answer is we don’t really know, we can’t make assumptions. Some people will and some wont. So, it’s worth monitoring and having further research into that. We can’t ignore in terms of the nature of hate crime extremism - it’s something that’s a very small proportion of offenders but it’s something that still has a wide influence. It’s got a symbolic influence as well even though it’s small proportions. So, for example it could be organisations, you know, BNP, Combat 18, but also individuals. There was the example of in Norway, Anders Breivik, who’d killed seventy-seven people, and it has a symbolic importance in that it can justify, so it can kind of enter public consciousness is so it’s okay to perpetrate offences against these groups of people, and they might not go to the same lengths, but it can just have that kind of and then fed into by media rhetoric and so on and political rhetoric. And one of the things emerging from the literature as well in terms of the nature of hate crime is looking at kind of its link with domestic violence and gendered violence. The research kind of has a consensus that the risk of domestic violence is heightened for ethnic minority and disabled women, and the impact of that is heightened, so more likely to attempt suicide and so on, and actually the victimisation in same-sex relationships is a hidden but quite significant issue and it’s quite often underreported and the sort of gendered experience of hate crime, where one of the authors were saying that a gay man and a lesbian woman won’t have the same experience of hate crime, again because of gender politics and inequality in general and how women are treated as opposed to men. So again it completely just reinforces the notion that we can’t just treat all hate crime as one thing and everybody’s going to experience it the same way. Quite often in the research offences perpetrated against transgender people is often lumped together with homophobic hate crime and it’s different. It is different qualitatively and …
MD In terms of the main causes do you want to just run through some of those?
RH Yeah, absolutely. This is not exhaustive by any means. There’s a lot of literature on the causes of hate crime. It’s all really, really interesting stuff. So, what I’ve tried to do with my review is kind of summarise the main causes if you will, that can lead to hate crime. So, there’s individual level sort of causes as you can imagine, so there’s aspects of people’s personality, psychological kind of explanations for it. The role of prejudice is one thing. So some of the research would say obviously hate crime and hate offences are at the extreme end of prejudice, but what can go a bit amiss in looking at hate crime is the everyday experiences of prejudice that people, you know, the terms hate crime can obscure the everyday daily commonplace things like even pity, sympathy, derogatory language, jokes - inverted commas - that are at the kind of, you know, other side of prejudice, and McBride actually in her research sort of said that we’re all in a spectrum of prejudice so we have to think about it. Human being’s kind of categorise the world and create stereotypes and so on - and there’s reasons why we do that - but these individual level explanations don’t really account for it all. It doesn’t take group dynamics into account, and in-groups and out-groups. So, another interesting one, sorry, in terms of personality is that quite a lot of the research says that people who are more likely to commit hate crime or express prejudices, they have something called an authoritarian personality which, it’s someone who thinks that any other groups who are deemed as minority groups challenge what’s considered normal. They’re more likely to believe in sort of things like capitol and corporal punishment and strict with discipline and be deferential to authority figures and so on, and have a range of prejudices against sort of all minority groups. So not just a single kind of problem with one group of people, they just might be like “oh these …” you know, flippantly kind of - well, or not so flippantly. So, it’s quite interesting. There was a massive European study that it was published in 2011 that showed real - in some of the researches it’s not as common - but actually this European study that they looked at eight European countries and spoke to a thousand people and each found real evidence for authoritarian type personality who quite often is somebody that’s an older person. I was thinking is it more sort of a male kind of thing but actually they found it both in male and female. So that’s, but that’s your individual level explanations, and hate crime as with a lot of obviously offending in general has kind of structural and wider causes as well, so social psychological actually, because I suppose that’s not just individual level but the kind of then the influence that the mass media has on maybe somebody who has got a propensity to think that way, influence of the mass media as with, as I’ve just said earlier, with political rhetoric, when there’s sort of spikes in hate crime after terrorist events or political events and a kind of yearning for group acceptance that humans have a propensity for as well.
MD Sure, sure.
RH Another interesting aspect is a concept of shame in hate crime perpetrators. So quite a lot of the literature talks about - there was actually a study in Manchester where it was offenders who had committed offences against Asian people, and they felt actually by the victim they felt unfairly treated, they felt belittled, they felt emm, you know, in whatever the interaction was they felt quite belittled and they then, because of those feelings they then sort of scapegoat the person and then make it an excuse to commit a hate offence against them. It was including it assault as well, so violent offences as well, and similar processes can apply to - or so some of the literature says - in terms of people who are unemployed, they might sort of again have some rhetoric or commit an offence against somebody who they perceive as an immigrant who’s stealing our benefits or, but actually what the literature’s saying is that that person, deep down they feel that they’re perceived as being kind of work shy and not a contributing member of society, so they kind of turn that on others and they kind of internalise the shame but turn that outwards. And it can be dependent of people’s emotional mental health. Research by Roberts et al in 2013 sort of said that probably people who are more likely to react in conflict situations anyway, you’ve kind of got sort of deficits in sort of managing their emotions and so on. That’s why quite a lot of the hate offences are, they do occur in the context of some of the other conflict, like a neighbour conflicts or argument with somebody in a shop or a bouncer or things like that. So that is quite a common sort of scenario. Probably one of the bigger things as well is the kind of socioeconomic causes and perceptions of kind of loss and threat for people. What a lot of the research says is that in towns and cities that have kind of deindustrialised and there’s been a loss of kind of jobs and ways of life and so on, and people feel quite threatened by again who they perceive as people coming in, taking the jobs, you know, the rhetoric that’s common and it sounds cliche, but actually it is something that’s around. And not only that but also kind of people perceiving as a threat to their sort of way of life and culture. So, in communities where possibly other people have settled, they might see it as importing kind of alien customs and values and feeling quite threatened by that and resistant to that change and again, it always unfortunately fuelled by discourses around unrestrained kind of immigration and refugees and people sort of coming into the country and things like that that unfortunately the politicians have been feeding into. Coupling that with a kind of high sort of structural perspective in sort of social hierarchy. So, in-groups and out-groups with people feeling they’re part of the dominant in-group, which the literature - not me - classes as the people who have the most power in the UK are white, male, heterosexual, Christian and middle class. Make of that what you will. I think there are definitely arguments against that and I think that if we’re arguing that sometimes hate crime perpetrators are quite marginalised people who have lost jobs, might have mental health issues, do they have power, either I think you could probably debate that certainly, but there is probably something in that where people see the dominant identity traits, the ideal characteristics are, you know, are those things and anybody out with those norms they act to sort of police the boundaries of what’s normal and a context where hate offences can occur with that. One more thing, I think some research that summarises the sort of community profile that can provide a context for hate crime is a community that has entrenched local racism, social and economic deprivation as we’ve said, sort of not much engagement in leisure activities or culture, not many affordable youth facilities and kind of high levels of youth offending and also general offending and links to criminal networks, and I just think it’s useful to consider the communities that we work in. In Edinburgh I worked across Muirhouse and Leith which are deprived areas, and not all of the areas, but then you think about actually, is that quite a common sort of profile for the communities that we are working in?
MD Do you think there is evidence to suggest absolutely?
RH Yeah I think so. I mean actually in Leith and Edinburgh certainly I had read recently it’s got the highest numbers of hate offences across the city and parts of it are, you know, deprived areas economically certainly, and in terms of gender they were twice as likely to be male than female - the perpetrators - apart from when the victim knew the perpetrator. Quite interesting. Then almost fifty percent were actually female, and particularly in disability hate crime almost sort of a third to sort of forty percent are actually perpetrated by females, which is interesting.
MD That’s very interesting to hear.
MD Unexpected really.
RH Yeah, and disability hate crime it can be quite different in terms of, there’s a term in the literature now, “mate crime”. Kind of recognising that quite often some of the offending around disability hate crime is people befriending people with disabilities for financial or sexual exploitation and so on. So, it’s really interesting. Further research I think would be useful around that and why disproportionately females would be involved in that. Age wise it tends to be in the younger age range, sort of under twenty-five is sort of the most common, and ethnicity. I mean it’s usually white people who classify themselves as white when they looked at empirical data for racially motivated offenders, but eight to nine percent of homophobic offences were perpetrated by people from Asian backgrounds and some research in 2011. So, you basically can’t model any intervention you do. It can’t be just modelled around a sort of white racist offender. It’s reducing it sort of too much to one sort of category. Substance use - yeah, I mean, certainly speaking to practitioners and the Police in Edinburgh, people are more likely to be under the influence of alcohol when they committed the offences. In the data for religiously aggravated offending across Scotland recently in the last year there was like forty-six percent were under the influence of alcohol. So, it’s not a cause but there’s something around that in terms of people’s disinhibition or things and as I said, socioeconomic background people, research shows the perpetrators tend to be unemployed or economically kind of inactive, and that link between socioeconomic kind of marginalisation in offending in general I suppose, but with hate crime offending.
MD Is there a particular (… unclear) you want to move on to? I have more here about kind of the interventions, what works?
RH Yeah, absolutely. So, I had also looked at - there just had been so little research on risk assessment in this area, which obviously is something we’re very big on in Criminal Justice Social Work, and really it was the London Probation Trust that I drew most of the research from in the review. I mean, we just haven’t really looked at it at all in Scotland. So, I won’t probably go through all the risk assessment stuff, but that’s something that’s in my review certainly for practitioners that are interested in that. It’s mainly of interest I think to people who are working directly with perpetrators. So, following on from looking at the kind of risk I looked at nine interventions across Scotland and England and one in Northern Ireland, and what I did was I didn’t do a primary review of them because other people have done that, so I just looked at kind of an overview of them and looked at evaluations and so on and pulled together from that an amalgamation of kind of what works from all of those. Really what the research says is that the needs of victims and offenders isn’t always best addressed via a punitive approach. So, custody or, you know, other things. It doesn’t necessarily work in reducing offending or certainly healing the harms that have been caused to the victim or communities. There’s no one size fits all approach as I’ve said and outlined. The causes and motivations are really different for different people. So, it needs to be flexible, and the intervention should be balanced between, yes, providing specialist hate crime intervention around people’s attitudes, but also general around the needs of offenders in general because it will be people as I’ve already said who’ve possibly quite marginalised, might have substance use issues, mental health … So, it has to be a balance of addressing the hate offending but also addressing other needs. Certainly Scotland has got a hate crime program that’s twelve sessions and it’s one to one work called “Adapt”, which is Anti-Discriminatory Awareness Practice Training. Out of the seven social workers I spoke to, only two of them had heard of it and no, I spoke to Criminal Justice Social Work services in Glasgow - they hadn’t heard of it. In East Lothian they hadn’t heard of it, and some other services didn’t get back to me but I’m presuming they probably haven’t heard of it either. It was developed up in Aberdeen and it’s still around, you know, and it’s evidence-based, but I looked at a lot of them and I looked at Sacro have a service actually through the west here for hate crime, and there were no interventions in custody, so that in Scotland certainly they’re all kind of community based.
MD So where has “Adapt” been used?
RH “Adapt” was used up in the Aberdeen area. For one reason it was back in 2011 and it then kind of stopped and it didn’t seem to be widely disseminated through Scotland. I heard of it a few years ago because the authors of “Adapt” came and they did a talk actually in a day around hate crime long before I got this role and I thought “oh that sounds great”, and then it goes into the back of our team we have it electronically stored in the team, but the five members of my team I spoke to had never heard of it so it’s, and they were working with hate crime perpetrators and are currently and weren’t doing anything specific with people around the hate crime, weren’t aware that “Adapt” was there so …
MD And it’s a real shame because it sounds like a tool that potentially could have been rolled out more generally.
RH Yes. Absolutely. So, on the back of that I’ve actually, I was back in touch with the “Adapt” authors and trainers and I’ve organised training. It’s actually a three-day training course - so a lot of time out for people - and I’ve actually organised that for later this year in recognition that it is a useful tool, but in general, in terms of what works with hate crime interventions. So pulling through from looking at the interventions and also I looked at restorative justice - which I could do a whole other talk on that - but in general, having a relationship of acceptance and understanding and trust with the offender, avoiding moral judgements and kind of blaming and labelling of offenders, which is again, some of these principles apply in any of the work you do when you’re working with people who’ve committed offences, but particularly being able to allow people to talk about their prejudices openly, getting that balance between appropriately challenging them but without shutting somebody down and saying “well that’s terrible, you’re this, you’re that”, you know? It’s just not, that’s not going to work. A component involving victim empathy work and the awareness of hate crime, so raising that for offenders so that they’re aware of the impact of hate crime on victims and communities is always important. Raising people’s awareness around diversity and kind of challenging attitudes about difference in in-groups and out-groups, but with the caveat of not preaching to offenders and avoiding a paternalistic waggy-finger sort of style as well, but having an educative element. A component around managing emotions and sort of anger management if you will, in inverted commas. Again in recognition of the fact that people - possibly because of their life experiences - people who commit hate offences might have a lot of anger about things and they displace that anger onto others, as we’d said earlier - a context for hate offending. So, working around emotion management. One to one work is deemed as most effective. Some of the programs do have a group work element but it kind of seems to be that one to one work is probably the most effective. A multi-agency and holistic approach, which is the tenant of any good social work approach. Working with others such as housing departments and anti-social behaviour teams and all that, because they could probably give you more information about what the context sometimes is - if it’s particularly been neighbourhood disputes or hate crimes around that and incidents, or working with the police where possible and others. Reintegration of offenders as well, so not just around the hate crime stuff but obviously if people need employability skills or, you know, addressing alcohol and drug use and a corporation of a restorative justice element where possible, which has to be very kind of well assessed appropriate circumstances - bringing the offender and victim together in a form of mediation can be seen to really sort of heal the harms of hate crime and possibly reduce reoffending. The primary aim isn’t for that - the primary aim of restorative justice is for victims to feel that they’ve been part of the process and to feel some of the harms caused have been healed and restored, but it can hopefully lead to offenders less likely to commit the same type of offences is the idea. There’s a recognition in literature this type of work can stir up quite challenging emotions. So, it was Lindsay and Danner actually in 2008 were saying we’re actually all on a spectrum of prejudice ourselves. It can lead us to think about kind of what our own prejudices are. Workers then might have anxiety about colluding with offenders or not, and people that I spoke to, workers I spoke to said that, they’re like “yeah, I don’t know how far I should go in challenging it or if I’m saying enough or too much”, so people can be a wee bit worried. So, what they might then so is kind of develop an overly challenging stance and confrontation with people. What the literature is saying is that doesn’t work. So just what I said - you need to develop that working relationship, be able to accept people and actually, the concept of acceptance is a big thing because one of the things I’d read was how can the perpetrator accept others if they don’t accept themselves, or if you don’t sort of accept them, how can they be accepting of other people? So, it’s really important in that old social work chestnut of unconditional positive regard which runs through all of our work with people who use social work services. So yeah, so really developing the relationship, and what the London Probation Trust actually are really strong is for practitioners to develop a theoretical perspective. So, kind of everything I’ve been talking about for practitioners to be aware of the causes of hate crime, the different motivations and what might be going on for people, but also in wider society and knowing about that before they work with people and developing a bit of local knowledge about the communities they work in, you know, what are the tensions, what are the different groups of people? So, having a bit of knowledge on that and undertaking training in that - which is something I’m trying to develop. Establishing ground rules and boundaries with people, so like I’d said, you need to be able to speak openly to people about their prejudices but also with a focus with that, you know, not just allowing people to use any sort of type of language, just establishes and boundaries around language and so on and yeah, and for staff to develop - again, London Probation Trust mentioned something that could be quite, you know, contentious, but perhaps staff who are themselves from a minority group or have one of the protected characteristics, how they might feel approaching the work. It used to be an opt in or opt out for staff from ethnic minorities. London Probation Trust have said that, you know, I think resource wise it might be difficult now, but really having a reflection on that for people and using supervision with managers who should also be trained in the principles of it as well.
MD And you said you’re developing some training for practitioners really around and developing some of these skills. This training, is this just for Edinburgh or are you planning that you maybe you’d be able to share this more widely with people?
RH I would love to share it. At the moment it’s just for Edinburgh because that’s where I work and where the funding - how we’re using our funding - but actually, because in the last six months I’ve been in touch with so many different people, I believe that there’s some social workers coming through from Glasgow for that, through hopefully the dissemination and the review and the links that I’ve made, and I’m also speaking to the community justice Scotland are now kind of coming in, who are going to be an umbrella sort of national organisation for us, and I’m meeting with the training and development person there. So, I would hope that it could then lead to sort of wider dissemination of the ideas and the practice and possibly training.
MD I’m sure that will be very valuable.
RH It would be, yeah, that would be ideal actually.
MD Do you want to just talk about some of the sort of more general recommendations then on the back of the research that you’ve done?
RH Yeah. I actually, from the research there’s fourteen recommendations, but I’ve just tried to summarise them a little bit and cluster them round sort of key ideas rather than painstakingly go through them, people could hopefully see them in the review. So just as I touched on training, I think it’s absolutely vital for practitioners on the nature and the harms and the causes of hate crime and motivations of perpetrators, and the particular intervention that they’ll be using, which they’ve decided in Edinburgh we’re going to go with “Adapt”. Also around risk assessment of course. I feel like we need a more robust kind of risk assessment and guidance around assessing people who’ve committed hate crimes at the stage before they’re going to court for the Sheriffs deciding how to proceed with, you know, after they’ve been convicted. What London Probation Trust do is they use a questionnaire to measure prejudice, which is really interesting. I liked that idea and I scoped around with the practitioners, they said yeah they would be open to that. It allows people if they have some kind of tool to discuss kind of people’s level of prejudice and attitudes and so on. It even allows for just ease of discussion and also just an idea to guide what does this person need an intervention or is it a case of it’s more of a one-off incident? So, I’ve tasked myself with that and had approval from the managers to develop that. Another thing would also be then that “Adapt” is great - it’s twelve sessions, obviously quite comprehensive, but the potential I would say and recommend to develop a brief intervention possibly for people who don’t have particularly entrenched attitudes, it might have been more of a one off or a couple of incidents. Considered it is part of a diversion from prosecution scheme as well possibly, which is a team that - I don’t work for them - but we do have a team in Edinburgh who do that particular work, and absolutely vital will be a recommendation to undertake further research into restorative justice and how it fits in with hate crime. The recent “Independent Advisory Group Report on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion” recommended exploring the use of restorative justice with hate crime, which is exactly what we’re going to do in Edinburgh. It’s an innovative - it’s not been done at all in Scotland in amongst statutory services certainly, so my colleague and I are developing a pilot hate crime and restorative justice service which we’re hoping to kind of have up and running by the summer - by August - but I’m going to undertake, write another paper, a short paper on that and kind of what is the evidence base for restorative justice. So, I think we just, we need to look at that with hate crime in particular and evidence based practice really isn’t it? All the time. And for Criminal Justice Social Work I think another recommendation would be to remain involved in and have a hand in the legislative review around hate crime, because it’ll affect in terms of the amount of people we will be working with and the reports that we get in and so on, if they change and add more protected characteristics and any local and national strategic groups in relation to hate crime I think we should be involved in, because it’s just not been something that - we are a service working with perpetrators. In Edinburgh alone we had in excess of thirty people convicted of hate crimes who we’re working with, so Scotland wide that’ll be more. One of the other recommendations was if Criminal Justice Social Work could have access to victim or witness statements. The English Probation Service - they do have that. It allows for much fuller and robust risk assessments, because they can then see what was involved in the incident and be able to challenge people’s version of events or say “look, I can see that this happened and know who else was involved” and make it that more holistic risk assessment as well.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License