The greater role of this document is to provide the program to the U.K. government on the steps to be taken on action against hate crime. It is meant to extend our understanding of what hate crime includes and act as a briefing note to the minister.
“Hate crime” is a subject with multiples of understanding and definitions. It is capable of provoking powerful reactions in the society of interest. It is defined in Wales and England as exacerbating the weightiness of existing criminal offenses – harassment, criminal damage, or assault (these crimes show evidence of hostility element). Laws of hate crime are developed to cater to the concern of the harmful acts and disproportionate criminal which targets a specific group in the society. Offenders of these laws create fear and anxiety to people of the specific group threatening their rights to freedom. To better understand, hate crimes are offenses stirred up by hostility towards a person’s personality and character. They damage the wider society and undermine a long-range of civic rights such as public participation and equality. It heightens division and tension within the community.
Over the years, hate crime laws have expanded anonymously. The murder of a London black teenager in 1993, which brought in Wales and England the introduction of racial hate crime policies in 1998, expanded to include religion in 2001, later in 2003 added sexual orientation and disability, and later in 2012 transgender identity. It has expanded in offenses only. Most countries have seen the importance of including hate crime laws in their constitution to liberate their citizens from oppression, threats, and anxiety about violating human rights. These countries include England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and other compatible countries – Canada, the USA, New Zealand, and Australia. Last year, the government of Ireland broadcast the implementation of an inclusive set of hate crime regulations, a new set of Hate Crime laws, and public acts were implemented and enforced in the Scottish government in March last year. These newly reinforced laws replaced the pre-existing laws similar to England and Wales with few differences.
Despite the extensive adoption over past years, these laws are not supported universally. Most citizens consider them unjust as they lead to the law addressing the offender differently according to the victim’s characteristics. Most of the opposers of these laws argue that they create more division and inequality than usual. Considering the claim, we all accept the genuineness withheld. Still, we disapprove of the conclusion as these laws depend entirely on the cheered of the criminal and the expression of cruelty and not on the victim’s identity. For example, suppose a Muslim is assaulted, and no proof that the offense was cheered by the fact that the person is a Muslim, or the criminal expressed cruelty on the basis. In that case, the crime will not be categorized as a hate crime. The criminal offenses in consideration in this report involve a mental state or action conducted intentionally or recklessly. It, therefore, does not pardon the offender for practicing beliefs that others consider wicked or homophobic. For example, the law protects the Lesbian, guy, bisexual and transgender society and punishes any offender who attacks society based on the personality. Broadening hate crime laws will protect personal characteristics, promote respect for beliefs, and eliminate confusion. For example, the confusion on the permissible meaning of hate crime is based on objective proof of the inhumane. The document will provide steps to broaden the hate crime Act, Chalmers & Leverick, (2020).
The main reason for hate crime implementation is to convey tolerance and equality – this law’s supporters and implementors signal members that prejudice and hatred are severely punishable. At times, the objective of the law is not achieved but the opposite. The law encourages American citizens to consider themself special, not subject to the law but as a special group. The implementation of the law has led to unfair practices and unintended consequences. People debate on the effectiveness of the enactment to protect society. Most of these problems addressed here will help create a firm ground supporting the broadening of the hate crime law, show its essence, and later provide solutions to these problems.
First, critics argue that the enactment of hate crime laws is for the political importance in response to bias-motivated crimes highly broadcasted by the broadcasting services. The media fails to examine the validity of the hostility cases before broadcasting. The hoaxes use the media as a tool to show the public the ineffectiveness of hate crime legislation (Jacobs & Henry, 1996). The media faces a challenge as they don’t take enough time to distinguish between fake and true hate crimes. Therefore, media has become equipment in which liberals’ pranks are broadcasted to express their agendas. In 2015, homosexuals burnt down their house and blamed the neighbor for spraying “anti-gay spurs” on their house before putting it on fire (Polage, 2012).
Opposers claim that hate crime legislation does not perform its role but is based on political motives. Some politicians support the legislation as very tough because they support homosexuality. Others receive campaigning support and attract votes from the strong group who lobby for the legislation (Beale, 2001). It is also reported that legislators who critics hate crime laws are faced with political murder, which reveals that legislation has some political interests.
Thirdly, the support for hate crime law is not universal. A large percentage of people agree that the cruel demise of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. is unacceptable (KING & SUTTON, 2013). The public reveals interest with some allocations of the hate crime laws. Most do not support this legislation as their views do not address merging the legislation to other crimes and not classifying it as a special crime. Research has also shown that most people reject the laws because they violate constitutional rights. (Bradley, 2007)
Moreover, hate crime laws lack public approval because the groups protected by the legislation do not even support it. LGBT group is one of the most advantaged groups on hate crime legislation. Still, research by Queers for Economic Justice and Sylvia Rivera Law project does not support the laws (Alongi, 2016). Many critics believe that is wrongly used against minorities and the poor; at the same time pardoning, they do not solve the challenge of bias, thus creating toughened offenders. The citizens, therefore, question the impact of hate crime legislation.
Fourth, the law court has ruled that State hate crime provisions are unconditional due to nebulousness. For instance, suspect Christopher Botts and Angela Pisciotta were charged with aggravated hostility in Botts v. State for beating up two black Americans in Georgia, Hogue, (2005). The Georgia supreme court in 2004 discovered that the words bias and prejudice were too general and unclear as they didn’t lay down on which basis; color, religion, race, and gender. As a result, the Georgia Court reduced the ruling from eight to six years of the sentence (“Judge throws out Title IX claim because no alleged gender bias,” 2018)
Another controversial conflict with the enactment of hate crime law is, do these laws contradict, Equal protection rights, First Amendment, or the Double Jeopardy Clause. The hate crime offender is dually punished, first for the act and secondly for the intentions behind the act, which is against the double jeopardy clause. It, therefore, contradicts the constitutional laws. It is also seen that these laws violate people’s rights to equal protection, which is just included in the 14th While the law’s main aim is to advocate for equality and tolerance, hate crime legislation may be obstructing stability socially as they aggravate societal division.
- Protecting some groups of people more than others needs to be corrected. By offering equal coverage to each of the ‘protected behavior.’
- On the conflict of judgment in court to solve the problem against the double Jeopardy clause, that is, the existing crimes and the hate speech, the hate crime court should address the former and leave the latter for the public to address.
- The commission making the amendment needs to be made strong and independent. The commission should propose a set of typical criteria for determining whether new characteristics need to be protected. The commission should make it easier to prosecute hearsay offenses. The commission needs to make the law like others but not independent. The action will draw a multitude of the public to support the law making it universal.
- The public should be educated on hate crime law and their views respected and addressed.
- The media need to examine every piece of information and find the truth of any offense before publication and broadcasting. A severe penalty should be reinforced against anyone who recklessly makes confusing confessions publicly but undermines the constitutional statutes (“What are the hate crime laws and should they be reformed?” 2022)
- Lastly, politicians need to respect and protect the country’s constitution. Hate crime laws protect human rights against harassment and torture based on discrimination of race, color, gender, sexuality, religion, and any other. The offender’s intention should be weighed to warn the racists and those who take advantage of others.
The project on broadening the definition of hate crime exposes us to the world of special groups of people with extraordinary characteristics. We are all borne differently, and therefore no one should be harassed or assaulted based on personal characteristics. The impact of this project is majorly incorporate all the special groups of people to protect for them to enjoy their stay under the sun. It is also a remedy for people who suffer from psychological torture from their physical or unchangeable characteristics. There are numerous groups of people left out who need protection within society. Many sexually harassed victims do not find the courage to speak out due to the stigmatization and sometimes harassment of the less fortunate group. Broadening the definition for hate crime will eliminate most cases such as; racism, discrimination, hearsays, rape cases, slavery, and physical torture. People will be given equal rights despite their gender, sexuality, religion, and color. It will therefore promote national cohesion and integration. It will enhance public participation in policy-making to the government by responding to their views on the amendment of hate crime law to merge it to other laws. It will make it easy for people to obey and bid by it.
The minister may find some hard time in reinforcing the law without first stimulating the mentioned problems. The law should not contradict at all other clauses in the constitution. The contradiction makes it tough to enforce the law and for people to follow, as most know there is a loophole for defense with the same constitution. It is not easy to make it universal since even the beneficiaries do not support it. It, therefore, means if amendments are to be made on broadening, the bill will receive the minority votes. Incorporating characteristic behaviors that are controversial to most believers makes it have fewer supporters.
Workability of The Solution
- It is easy to amend some parts of the law and suit all people, not a subgroup. If self-interest is withdrawn, a similar clause in the constitution can be incorporated in hate crime laws, then the Laws included in the constitution and not independent.
- It might be challenging to find out the truthfulness of every piece of information; thus, it will remain a challenge for social media to be used by opposers to find the policy. Heavy penalties are then supposed to be imposed on anyone who commits speaking against the constitution. Another challenge is the lack of court approval of the law, which means the law is not stable. Lawyers and policymakers need to be deployed in reviewing the laws and thus come up with a stable and safe policy.
- It will also be tough to broaden the policy if most leaders are against it and use it for their interests. People are also not noticing the importance of the policy since other clauses served the same purposes; its objectives should therefore be made clear.
- Impact of the broadening definition of Hate Crime
- The government itself is benefits; it will ensure the people are protected and that criminal acts are minimized. It will also provide an easy time for the judiciary in the ruling process. It also makes the constitution strong and independent. The second group with benefits is the LGBT society protected against social discrimination. Foreigners are also privileged and protected against language, color, and religious discrimination.
- It is very expensive to amend a policy, beginning with parliamentary seatings, awareness creation, memorandum, and other processes.
- The policy contradicts some cultures and beliefs, making it tough to be universal. It will also be challenging to go against a culture recognized in the constitution.
- Hate Crime laws face opposition from a large population due to their negative impacts and weakness in opening a loophole for inequality and vices.
The next step will be to merge the relative constitutional clauses with hate crime laws and then incorporate the law in the constitution. However, a review of the laws is needed, and necessary corrections are done. The broadening process should include all the people with disability, including mental disorders and unique characteristic persons.
Alongi, B. (2016). The Negative Ramifications of Hate Crime Legislation: It’s Time to Reevaluate Whether Hate Crime Laws Are Beneficial to Society. Pace L. Rev., 37, 326.
Beale, S. (2001). Federalizing Hate Crimes: Symbolic Politics, Expressive Law, or Tool for Criminal Enforcement?. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.274930
Bradley, M. (2007). SYMBOLIZING HATE: THE EXTENT AND INFLUENCE OF ORGANIZED HATE GROUP INDICATORS. Journal Of Crime And Justice, 30(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/0735648x.2007.9721224
Chalmers, J., & Leverick, F. (2020). Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill: A Report for the Justice Committee.
Hogue, L. D., & Hogue, F. J. (2005). Mercer Law Review Vol. 057 Issue 01-010 pg. 0113-Criminal law.
Jacobs, J., & Henry, J. (1996). The Social Construction of a Hate Crime Epidemic. The Journal Of Criminal Law And Criminology (1973-), 86(2), 366. https://doi.org/10.2307/1144030
Judge throws out Title IX claim because of no alleged gender bias. (2018), 14(11), 11-11. https://doi.org/10.1002/catl.30439
KING, R., & SUTTON, G. (2013). HIGH TIMES FOR HATE CRIMES: EXPLAINING THE TEMPORAL CLUSTERING OF HATE-MOTIVATED OFFENDING. Criminology, 51(4), 871-894. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9125.12022
Polage, D. (2012). Making up History: False Memories of Fake News Stories. Europe’S Journal Of Psychology, 8(2), 245-250. https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.v8i2.456
See James B. Jacobs & Jessica S. Henry, The Social Construction of a Hate Crime Epidemic, 86 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 366, 371 (1996).
What are the hate crime laws, and should they be reformed?. Theos Think Tank. (2022). Retrieved 2 February 2022, from https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2020/10/29/what-are-the-hate-crime-laws-and-should-they-be-reformed.