Establishing a Framework for the Implementation of Legislation to Address Anti-LGBT Hate Crime

This report analyses the interventions recommended to ensure that legislation to address anti-LGBT hate crime is properly implemented.

This report is the third in a series of hate crime reports produced by the Human Dignity Trust. The first, Legislating to Address Hate Crimes Against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth, was published in 2019 and outlined why governments should enact laws that specifically criminalise anti-LGBT hate crimes. The second, Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth: A Situational Analysis (2020), evaluated empirical evidence that showed that anti-LGBT hate crimes remain pervasive throughout Commonwealth jurisdictions.

Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth: A Situational Analysis revealed that anti-LGBT hate crime remain a prolific social problem globally. These targeted and often brutally violent incidents can have devastating impacts on both individual victims and entire communities of LGBT people. The research revealed a number of common themes, including that LGBT people are disproportionately subjected to repeated criminal acts of physical violence and sexual abuse which are likely to have an enhanced impact on all LGBT people, whether as direct or indirect victims of such offences; and that in countries that criminalise same-sex intimacy, state actors such as the police can be common perpetrators of anti-LGBT violence, meaning that victims are reluctant to report victimisation.

In Legislating to Address Hate Crimes Against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth the Trust reasoned that governments should enact laws specifically criminalising anti-LGBT hate crimes on the grounds that inter alia, that it should acknowledge in law the enhanced impact of anti-LGBT hate incidents on individuals, families, victims groups, and broader society. The report also offered recommendations on legislating against LGBT hate crime, including a step-by-step guide to drafting new legislation.

The establishment of new hate crime laws is only part of a state’s strategy to effectively respond to anti-LGBT victimisation. The present report demonstrates the importance of a framework of policies and tools to be developed and implemented alongside the law to ensure that there is not a gap between law on paper and in practice.

This report sets out the ‘next steps’ for governments that establish hate crime laws to support them in ensuring that those laws are applied fairly and robustly. It establishes a framework based on comparative empirical evidence and international resources, and highlights current practices in jurisdictions that have a mature policy domain for hate crime. Within this framework we have identified three main, interlinking stages that will support the effective implementation of hate crime laws: national and institutional polices and strategies; institutional and community measures and tools; and, education initiatives.

This report has four main parts. The first introductory section sets out the international contexts of hate crime, and the approach taken by the report. The second part emphasises the need for national action plans and institutional policies, detailing the manner in which plans and policies should be developed. The third outlines some of the key matters that criminal justice institutions need to address in implementing hate crime legislation, and the fourth outlines the importance of education campaigns to support its implementation.

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