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05/12/2017

Over Eight Hate Crime Incidents Reported In NI Every Day Last Year

Over eight hate crime incidents were reported to the police every day last year, according to new findings.

The figure was higher than the equivalent rate in England and Wales, the latest inspection by the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) found.

Mr Brendan McGuigan, Chief Inspector of CJI, said: "The clear message heard by Inspectors who spoke to victims of hate crime was that they wanted the intolerance to stop and perpetrators to understand the consequences of their actions and their behaviours."

Mr McGuigan said that while criminal justice organisations had taken positive steps to improve how they responded to and supported individuals impacted by hate crime, through the funding of initiatives such as the Hate Crime Advocacy Service, it was a societal problem that could not be dealt with by the criminal justice system alone.
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He continued: "Tackling hate crime is an issue which requires leadership from civic society supported by a holistic approach led by wider government.

"That is why I have taken the unusual step of recommending the Department of Justice’s (DoJ's) Hate Crime Strategy should be linked to the Northern Ireland Executive's Together: Building United Communities strategy or any future cohesion, sharing and integration policy.

"I believe this would help tackle the factors that enable hate crime through a cross-departmental approach which could be monitored and linked to outcome-based accountability measures."

The Northern Ireland Prison Service has also been urged to immediately develop and implement a hate crime strategy.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said: "As a society we need to improve the response both to the incitement to hatred that can lead to hate crime and to hate crime itself.

"No one should be targeted because of their race, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity."

(CD)

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