Government has little grasp on extent of hate crime in WA: Greens

Australian Greens

Media Release: 4 April 2019

Greens spokesperson for Multicultural Affairs, Sexuality and Gender Diversity Hon Alison Xamon MLC is dismayed by the inadequacy of the Government’s response to her question in Parliament yesterday about hate crime in WA.

Ms Xamon’s question revealed that police do not have a comprehensive understanding what hate crime is, meaning they are unable to report on the extent of hate crimes committed in WA.

“The Minister advised that the Police only collect data on racist harassment and incitement to racial hatred – but that is not nearly enough – hate crime is so much more than that,” she said.

“Hate crimes are motivated by prejudice based on a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or disability.

“Failing to collect this data is deeply problematic on many levels. If we don’t know the nature and scale of the problem, how can we take action to address it?” she asked.

One of the key criticisms arising in the wake of the Christchurch massacre has been the NZ government’s failure to keep a comprehensive record of hate crimes despite multiple requests from local and international agencies to do so over more than a decade.

“The massacre in Christchurch is a tragic reminder of the importance of keeping this data, but hate crime isn’t new and it doesn’t relate solely to religious affiliation.

“For example we know that the LGBTIQ community has long been subject to hate crimes. We heard some harrowing accounts of this during the debate on the Historic Homosexual Convictions Expungement Bill last year.

“Sadly, it is remains widely acknowledged that many LGBTIQ people are still fearful of reporting these crimes to the Police for fear of further persecution. This is an outrageous state of affairs.

“At the moment the Government can’t answer simple questions such as: how many hate crimes have been committed in the last twelve months? Or, is there a trend? Or, how many victims have there been?

“Nor then, can the Government take meaningful steps to intervene to prevent or curtail hate crimes.

“The result is a vicious cycle. If victims are left without adequate redress, it diminishes both their, and their broader communities’, faith in the system, meaning that they are less likely to report crimes in the future,” Ms Xamon said.

“If we are serious about stopping hate crimes, we need to start by properly defining and documenting the extent of the problem.

Alison: 0437 700 555

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