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National Hate Crime Awareness Week

National Hate Crime Awareness Week runs from 12-19 October 2024.

The week was founded in 2009 to mark the 10th anniversary of attacks in London on Black and LGBT communities in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho. In 1999 these communities were targeted by three nail bomb attacks that tragically killed three people and left more than 100 people injured. The attacks were motivated by racism and homophobia.

Hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility towards individuals and communities because of who they are, or who people perceive them to be.

Hate crimes are currently recorded where a crime is directed at someone because of their race, sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, religion or belief.  In Northern Ireland there is an additional category of sectarian hate.

Despite years of action by anti-hate groups, trade unions and allies, there has once again been a sharp increase in hate crime over the last eighteen months in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the year ending March 2022, there were 155,841 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, a 26 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

The biggest percentage increase in hate crimes in England and Wales since March 2017.

In Scotland the total number of charges reported containing at least one element of hate crime were marginally less, down by 0.2%, in 2021-22 compared to the previous year, standing at 5,640 in 2021/22 compared to 5,654 charges reported in 2020-21.

In Northern Ireland in the 12 months from 1July 2021 to 30 June 2022 the number of incidents recorded rose across all categories (racist, homophobic, sectarian, disability, faith/religion and transphobic) when compared with the previous 12 months.

As in previous years, in England, Wales and Scotland the majority of hate crimes were racially motivated, accounting for over two-thirds (70%) of all offences in England and Wales and over half in Scotland (55%).

In Northern Ireland the biggest increase in incidents was in racially motivated incidents and the smallest in incidents motivated by sectarian and transphobic hatred. The largest increase in the number of hate crimes recorded was for those with a homophobic motivation.

The trends behind the statistics are complicated but most commentators suggest that at least some of the year on year increases in hate crime may be down to improved reporting. Spikes in hate crime are also triggered by specific events such as the EU referendum, political events and more recently the Coronavirus pandemic.   

We know that many of our members sadly experience hate crime either at work or in their communities. The results of Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Survey last year showed a shocking 9 out of 10 retail workers experience abuse whilst carrying out their main job duties. Some of these incidents have hate as an aggravating factor and we know that our Black members, women members, visibly disabled members and LGBT+ members are at particular risk.

We also know that there are still very low levels of awareness of what a hate crime is across the UK. Usdaw is working to change this. Find out more about what a hate crime is, how to report it and the harm it causes by downloading or ordering Usdaw’s ‘Together Against Hate’ campaign posters and leaflets.

Visit nationalhcaw.uk for information relating to the 2024 National Hate Crime Awareness Week and ways that you can get involved.

Together we can resist hate crime.

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