Date: 30 March 2011
Lancaster University has produced the first ever international study into how hate crime offenders could be rehabilitated. The report was compiled by a team led by Dr Paul Iganski and Professor David Smith from the Department of Applied Social Science and published by The Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland.
Despite rising numbers of racist, homophobic and disability-related harassment being reported in Scotland, the Commission said "virtually no attention" has been paid to what motivates people to commit these crimesor what can be done to stop them.
Figures reveal there were record levels of racially motivated crime recorded in Scotland, with more than 6,200 incidents recorded in the past two years.
Dr Iganski said: "Understanding the impulses and motivations that lead to hate crime, and learning from what works and what doesn't when working with offenders, is essential to designing rehabilitation measures. While the programmes so far have drawn on the experiential knowledge of practitioners, our research aimed to provide more systematic evidence, and share learning, about the types of interventions that can be used for the rehabilitation of hate crime offenders."
Two-thirds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland had reported being verbally abused or threatened, with more than a third reporting being physically attacked. Disabled people were four times more likely to be the victim of a crime than other people and twice as likely to be the victim of a violent attack.
In Scotland, about a quarter of male perpetrators of racist incidents in 2008-09 were aged under 16, and under twenty one year-olds accounted for almost half the total.
The report reviewed programmes in Germany, Sweden, the United States, and the UK which set out to challenge hate crime. It makes several recommendations for the rehabilitation of offenders, including a national policy on working with offenders and more work on finding out what motivates them.
Associated staff: Paul Iganski, David Smith
Associated departments and research centres: Applied Social Science, Crime and Criminal Justice, Criminology