The most wide-ranging survey of hate crime victims ever to be undertaken is being launched this month in Leicester by a specialist research team based at the Department of Criminology, University of Leicester.
The survey is part of the Leicester Hate Crime Project – a two year study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, designed to examine the nature and impact of hate crime and victims’ expectations of the criminal justice system and other local support agencies.
The survey is being administered to the widest range of victim groups ever covered by a single hate crime study. This includes people who have been victimised specifically because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or their gender identity, as well as those who belong to the kinds of more marginalised groups which are often overlooked within hate crime research and policy – such as Gypsies and Travellers, asylum seekers, refugees, the homeless and those belonging to alternative subcultures, to name just several examples.
Dr Neil Chakraborti, the project’s Principal Investigator, said: ‘This survey will help us to uncover a range of victim experiences never previously documented. We want to capture the experiences of anyone, from any background, who feels that they have been victimised specifically because of who they are, and since the start of the project we have been engaging with all sections of Leicester’s diverse population to access potential respondents. As well as identifying violent acts of hate crime, we want the survey to help us understand the everyday forms of harassment, intimidation and bullying that often go unpublicised and unreported despite the damaging long-term consequences for victims, their families and broader communities’.
The Leicester Hate Crime Project is just a few months old but is already uncovering some fascinating new aspects of hate crime victimisation through its other major research strand, face-to-face interviews. Through this method the team has heard from Leicester’s more ‘hidden’ communities whose experience of hate crime has not been recorded before. The questionnaire survey is a crucial way of hearing more of these ‘lost voices’, and further interviews and focus groups will be held in the coming months to supplement the survey findings.
Mr Jon Garland, Co-Investigator, said: ‘The strength of the questionnaire is that it allows victims to describe their experience of hate crime, and of the service they received when they reported it to the police and other agencies. It has been specifically designed to be flexible enough so that victims from any background will be able to use it easily. Those whose first language is not English will also be able to fill it in as it has been translated into a variety of languages spoken by communities within Leicester. Help with completing the survey is also available for those who need it’.
The survey will be distributed across the city via key community contacts, or it can be filled in online at www.ipsos-mori.com/leicesterhatecrime. The findings will be published at the end of the research when it is anticipated that they will have a major impact upon hate crime victimisation policy and practice both locally and nationally.
Any questions about the research should be directed to Stevie-Jade Hardy, lead researcher on The Leicester Hate Crime Project at 0116 252 3784 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and updates about the Leicester Hate Crime Project, please visit the website (www.le.ac.uk/hatecrimeproject), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LeicesterHateCrimeProject) and follow the project on Twitter at @HateCrime_Leics.