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Law Commission Hate Crime Consulatation

The National Pensioners Convention responsed to the Law Commission Hate Crime Consulatation which can be read or downloaded below.

NPC Evidence for Hate Crime Consultation
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Hate Crime Consultation

Law Commission 1st, Tower, 52 Queen Anne's Gate,




21 December 2020

Dear Sir/Madam

NPC Evidence for the Law Commission's Hate Crime Consultation


The National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC) is Britain’s biggest independent organisation of older people, representing around one thousand local, regional, and national pensioner groups with a total of 1.2 million members. The NPC is run by and for pensioners and campaigns for improvements to the income, health and welfare of both today’s and tomorrow’s pensioners and this response is based on the views and experiences of our members, LGBT Group, Minority Elders' Committee, and Women's Working Party. We therefore wish to submit the following views to the Law Commission Hate Crime Consultation.

Comments from the NPC LGBT Group

The belief that we are people first and foremost is important in this consultation. Being a member of a protected characteristic group is something that gives individuals rights and protection – or does it?

The Law Commission itself admits that not all groups with protected characteristics are treated the same. This consultation is an opportunity for those inequalities in treatment to be addressed and ensure that the law is equal for everyone.

All citizens are entitled to protection from crime.

One of the questions of interest to the NPC is whether age should be included as a protected characteristic in law. If we accept that we are people first and foremost, then is it not the case that age is an integral part of everything the law covers on hate crime? The consultation document throws up as many questions as answers.

Over time legislation has improved but hate crime has doubled. Society does not deal with prejudice very well. The consultation document has a lot of data on victims of hate crime, but nothing about those who perpetrate the crime. Research into the psychology of perpetrators and the demographics is essential if measures to reduce hate crime are to be effective. The Law Commission documents contains nothing about addressing the motivation of perpetrators.

Dealing with the problem at source will require financial and human resources as the remedies suggested on restorative justice and (good) offender management are expensive.

We recognise that lack of understanding of the LGBT community can be seen as prejudice, but it is not necessarily hate crime. More needs to be done to educate and inform society, including restoring LGBT to the curriculum in schools. Cultural differences and how LGBT people are treated must be addressed to ensure that the law is applied across the board in England and Wales. Simplifying definitions of physical or verbal abuse for the public is key to them understanding their own behaviour.

The legislation also needs to cover areas like private dwellings, sheltered accommodation, own homes, care homes. The LGBT community have concerns about their care needs and how they will be received and treated – particularly if they are in a partnership with another.

How older people are treated in society today is of serious concern. The pandemic has highlighted starkly the areas the NPC has known existed in care homes, in health services, and in the media. Older LGBT people are susceptible to hate crime because of their sexual orientation and perhaps seen as more vulnerable because of their age.

There is a level of understanding of the issues of lesbian, gay and bi-sexual people from society, but this is not always the same for transgender people. They suffer higher incidents of hate crime.

Discrimination is still an issue for the LGBT community. It affects their daily lives: walking down the street, being in shops, in cafes, accessing public services or renting accommodation.

The Equality Act 2010 includes age as a protected characteristic. There is a lack of ‘joined-up’ thinking between the two legislations. One solution to adding age to the protected characteristics is for the Law Commission to consider an overarching statement that makes it clear that age is a factor in all the protected groups.

There are Regional Crime Commissioners who are responsible for upholding the law in their area. These have been decimated by year-on-year cuts to budgets and the promise of reinstating 20,000 police jobs is a long way off. Instead of a Commissioner for Hate Crime, invest in the regions to enable crime to be dealt with promptly and robustly.

Comments from the Minority Elders' Committee

As members of the NPC Minority Elders' Committee, we have been aware, by experience that hate crime is not only related to age, but also to race, disability, gender, religion and sexual orientation. However, BAME older people feel that irrespective of age, they suffer many more incidences of hate crime. We are visible by our colour, our cultural attire in some groups, by our language and can easily become targets of the perpetrators of hate of people with such characteristics.

Though the numbers of people reporting hate crimes has increased over the last 3 years, older people are not explicitly protected by the current hate legislation. Only disability, race, religion, sexual orientation are protected characteristics. What we are calling for is for age and gender to be included.

Hate crime among older BAME groups often go unreported because of the lack of support and access to modern technology. Furthermore, some people have problems of dealing with authority and some have language constraints which preclude them from communicating their complaints and attacks sufficiently strongly.

Though the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 provide the framework of fundamental protections, BAME people have been ignored and treated badly. This has been thrown into high relief during the pandemic. The lack of protection and consideration have been clearly demonstrated by the numbers of BAME frontline staff who have succumbed to COVID due lack of PPE and as a result of their general poorer quality of life with regard health, housing, social care, welfare and community.

We need to challenge ageism across all strands of society about the negative language which portrays older people as frail, vulnerable, dependent, rather than by the leaders, communicators, contributors and mentors that they are. We need to create a society that sees older people as assets and as of equal value. We believe strongly that the protected criteria should include age in addition to the hate crimes together. We need to “ensure that older people have the same access to justice and given a voice in the Criminal Justice system” (CPS).

Comments from the Women's Working Party

The number of people reporting hate crime has increased significantly in the last 3 years. Older people are not explicitly protected by current hate crime legislation - only disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity - although the CPS considers that violence and similar crimes directed against older people can be prosecuted. The protected criteria should include age and gender.