Following a 57% increase in reports of hate crime since the EU referendum in June 2016, the Home Affairs Select Committee launched an inquiry into ‘Hate Crime and its violent consequences’.
Based on evidence from the Irish Chaplaincy, the Catholic Association for Racial Justice and Catholic pastoral workers, CSAN’s submission focused on incidents affecting people who identify as Gypsy, Roma or Traveller (GRT). Key points include:
- Incidents of hate crime against members of GRT communities are under-reported because of a lack of confidence that reports will lead to effective action, and a mistrust of both criminal justice agencies and the police.
- There is a lack of pressure on these bodies from above to prosecute perpetrators of hate crime against members of GRT communities.
- The primary requirement to increase the reporting of hate crime is the creation of trust amongst GRT communities in the police, the CPS and those who scrutinise these bodies. The key to achieving this is showing that reports of hate crime from GRT communities will be treated with equal gravity to those from other communities.
Conn MacGabhann, Manager of the Traveller Equality Project for the Irish Chaplaincy commented: “As we highlighted in our response to the Committee’s inquiry, our experience has been that there is an unwillingness on the part of the police and the CPS to regard anti-Gypsy and anti-Traveller discrimination as seriously as other forms of racism. We welcome the Committee’s intention to highlight Hate Crime and hope to see a clear indication by word and deed from government ministers and agencies that anti-GRT racism is illegal and will be challenged vigorously by the state.”