Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
I am pleased to be launching the consultation on ‘Tackling Hate Crimes and Incidents: A Framework for Action’ on 11th July 2013 at Cantonian High School in Cardiff.
This framework aims to tackle the hostility and prejudice which is faced by many people in our communities. It covers the range of protected characteristics laid out within the Equality Act 2010. It also explores hate crimes and incidents experienced by older people and alternative subcultures (including the way people dress, such as Goth’s, Punks and EMO’s) in Wales.
The Framework forms part of the delivery of the Welsh Government’s Strategic Equality Plan and fulfills a commitment within the Programme for Government. It focuses on three strategic objectives to support delivery around prevention to tackle prejudice and ingrained stereotypes; supporting victims to increase reporting and the provision of advice; and improving the operational response to enhance the multi-agency response and to tackle perpetrators.
Tackling hate crime is integrally linked with other areas of my portfolio; it is an important element of building and fostering community resilience. Although huge strides have been taken to make Wales a safe, diverse and vibrant place to live, prejudice, discrimination and hate crime still exist and have a detrimental impact not only on individuals but on communities.
The Framework cuts across many Ministerial portfolio areas and includes important actions to start early and tackle bullying with children and young people in our schools and communities. Following engagement with others in the development of the draft Framework, we have included areas in which there is emerging evidence of hate crime including cyber hate and bullying, mate crime (where a person befriends someone for exploitation, which is often targeted at those with learning disabilities and in many cases linked to financial gain) and far right hate crime.
The Framework has been driven with partners across Wales through a Task and Finish Group including third sector partners, statutory organisations and key Welsh Government policy teams. This has been supplemented with evidence from seven focus and stakeholder groups across the protected characteristics and an on-line survey with 167 responses from across Wales. Welsh Government has also commissioned research into the motivations of perpetrators through Cardiff and Manchester Universities whose findings will also be launched alongside the Framework. There has also been emerging evidence from an All Wales Hate Crime Project in Wales through Race Equality First and Cardiff University, whose early findings have been included in the evidence base of the Framework.
The consultation will run until 18th October 2013, during which time the Welsh Government will be undertaking a number of focus groups across the protected characteristics and working with multi-agency groups to gather their views. The consultation can be accessed on the Welsh Government website and the final framework will be launched in early 2014 with a supporting delivery plan.