Hate crimes near schools and colleges in England and Wales have soared during the past two years, according to an investigation by the Press Association.
The statistics showed that 1,487 crimes with a hate element happened near a school or college, with a rise in the number of people targeted due to their religion or beliefs, disability, sexual orientation or being trans.
In the academic year of 2015-16 there were 568 crimes recorded across the two countries, a figure which jumped to 919 – almost five every day of the school year – to July 2017.
A Huge Rise in Crimes
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In particular, the data showed a sharp rise in incidents flagged as race related, which increased by almost 50 percent.
Similarly, there was an increase of 167 percent in transgender-related hate crime, while those related to religion or belief also rose by more than a third based on the previous year.
In some cases, crimes may have actually taken place near schools or colleges, rather than on the property itself. For example, if someone was walking home from school or the college was the nearest reference point.
School leaders have told us of a number of incidents in which pupils have been subjected to racial abuse by members of the public
However, Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said the findings were “disturbing”.
Speaking to the Guardian, he added: “Over the past 18 months, school leaders have told us of a number of incidents in which pupils have been subjected to racial abuse by members of the public, away from school premises, as they go about their daily lives.
“At a time when it often seems that our society is worryingly divided, schools and colleges are doing a brilliant job in holding it together.”
Hate Crime and Human Rights
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While hate crime legislation is separate to human rights law, it touches on many of the same areas, for example, freedom from being discriminated against, and to be able to enjoy our personal and private life.
Currently, police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland monitor five types of hate crime based on disability, gender identity, race, ethnicity and nationality, religion, faith or belief and sexual orientation.
Individual police forces can also add to this list. For example, Greater Manchester Police now record offences against alternative sub-culture as hate crimes, while two police forces, Nottinghamshire police and North Yorkshire Police, have added misogyny to their list of hate crimes.