Crime & Criminal Justice System

If you have experienced a hate crime or want information on how to report a crime or information on your rights in the criminal justice system please visit our information pages 

Overview

Stonewall work with all the different agencies that make up the criminal justice system to ensure that lesbian, gay and bisexual people can have full and equal treatment and access to justice as, and the friends and families of:

  • Victims
  • Witnesses
  • Offenders
  • Employees

What we know

Homophobic Hate Crime

Stonewall has published the report Homophobic Hate Crime: The Gay British Crime Survey 2008 which explores the extent and nature of homophobic hate crimes and incidents in Britain. The purpose of the report was to fill the gaps in understanding of homophobic hate crimes within the criminal justice system. When we conducted the research, the British Crime Survey didn’t record homophobic hate crime. The report demonstrates a strong case for action and shows that police forces and their partners should to do more to tackle homophobic hate crimes. Since the publication of the report, the Home Office have indicated that the next British Crime Survey will now record homophobic hate crimes.

Stonewall’s report Serves You Right demonstrates that there continues to be a significant fear from lesbian, gay and bisexual people of discrimination if they came into contact with the criminal justice system. There remains a significant concern about discrimination by the criminal justice agencies, including the police and the judiciary, against lesbian, gay and bisexual people as victims of homophobic hate crimes.

Data from the British Crime Survey will not be available for some time. However, a number of police forces publish information on the number of hate crimes reported to them. To view this information please contact your local police force, information on which can be found on our info pages. The Crown Prosecution Service also publish data on the number of cases of homophobic hate crime in which they charge perpetrators and the success rates of cases.

Offenders

There is a lack of reliable information on the experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual offenders in Britain. However, Stonewall’s Serves You Right found that a significant number of lesbian, gay and bisexual people would expect discrimination from the police and the judiciary if they committed an offence or were suspected of committing an offence. There is an even greater expectation of discrimination from the prison service.

What we have done

Stonewall was instrumental in removing discriminatory provisions in the law such as gross indecency, and the introduction of a statutory aggravation on the grounds of sexual orientation, which came into force in 2005. For more information about homophobic hate crimes please visit our information pages.

Stonewall has also advised a number of agencies on the development of policies and practices to improve the experience of lesbian, gay and bisexual people coming into contact with the criminal justice system. We worked with the Crown Prosecution Service in the development of their policy and guidance on the prosecution of homophobic hate crimes.

Since 2001 we have been working with numerous employers in the criminal justice system, including police forces and the prison service, through our Diversity Champions Scheme and the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index to improve their workplaces for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. By 2009 33 police forces were members of the Diversity Champions Programme.

What we are doing

Stonewall continue to work with a range of agencies across Britain to advise them on how to implement the recommendations of the Homophobic Hate Crime and Serves You Right reports and to inform them of their findings.

As young people perpetrate the majority of homophobic hate crimes and incidents we also work closely with schools and other education institutions to tackle homophobic bullying. For more information on our work in education please visit our Education for All site or the policy and research education page

Through our information Service we advise individuals on their rights within the criminal justice system. For more information on your rights in the criminal justice system and for advice on how to report a hate crime please visit our information pages 

For more information on any of our work on crime and the criminal justice system, please contact 08000 50 20 20 or info@stonewall.org.uk

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