Legislating to Address Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth

This report provides a detailed analysis of the purpose of Hate Crime laws and assesses how these laws are being used to tackle the pervasive violence faced by LGBT communities.

This report is the first in a three-part series of hate crime reports produced by the Human Dignity Trust on behalf of the Equality & Justice Alliance. Published in 2019, the report outlines why governments should enact laws that specifically criminalise anti-LGBT hate crimes. It focuses on the way that the law can help address hate crimes and tackle the devastating impacts these crimes have on LGBT communities within the Commonwealth.

The widespread problem of hate crime (including state-sponsored violence), and the failure of many countries to tackle the problem in law, means that this discriminatory type of offending continues to be one of the key human rights issues of our time. This report focuses on how some Commonwealth countries are actively challenging anti-LGBT hate crimes through the enactment of specific laws aimed at enhancing the penalties of offenders who commit crimes with an element of anti-LGBT bias. For these countries, hate crime legislation is now an important part of the state’s toolkit in challenging violent prejudice in society.

This report provides a detailed analysis of the purpose of these laws and assesses how hate crime laws, already enacted in parts of the Commonwealth, are being used to tackle the problem. The aim is to identify and assess the different types and models of legislation that are being used and to provide recommendations for other Commonwealth legislators who wish to challenge the proliferation of anti-LGBT hate and prejudice through the use of such laws.

The report is split into four sections:

  1. Why Legislate to Address Anti-LGBT Hate Crime?
  2. International and Regional Legal Standards for LGBT Hate Crimes Across the Commonwealth;
  3. National Legal Models for LGBT Hate Crime Across the Commonwealth;
  4. Recommendations for Law Reform

Annex A outlines the text of hate crime laws across the Commonwealth. Annex B summarises the research design.

Download the report