Petition Fund additional support for victims of COVID19 racism and anti-racism programmes
Since COVID19, UK hate crimes against East and South East Asians (ESEA) rose significantly in some areas. We all suffer from the virus’ effects, but ESEA are also targeted by unprovoked verbal assaults, threats and violent attacks. This even includes our NHS staff. The Government must act now.
The Government must protect our local communities, including ESEA. As concerned citizens and allies, we stand together and ask the Government to not just condemn recent racist attacks, but provide support funds for impacted individual and business victims and organisations tackling COVID19-fuelled racism.
This response was given on 28 April 2021
All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable and we will continue to work to bring offenders to justice, support victims and eradicate prejudice against communities.
Government is absolutely clear that all forms of hatred are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We have been appalled at the attacks that East and South-East Asian communities have endured as a result of the pandemic and condemn them unequivocally.
We have one of the strongest legislative frameworks in the world to protect communities from hostility, violence and bigotry, and to deal with the perpetrators of hate crime. We have already seen convictions of perpetrators of COVID-19 related hate crimes and can assure the Police and Crown Prosecution Service have taken this issue extremely seriously. We continue to work closely with the National Police Chief’s Council to ensure that all police forces are providing reassurance to communities affected and encouraging hate crime reporting during the pandemic. Further reassurance for victims of COVID-19 related hate crime can be found here at https://www.report-it.org.uk/covid_19_and_racis_hate_crime. We will continue to engage with communities, civil society partners and the police to monitor and address any developments in hate crime as the government’s COVID-19 restrictions change.
To further strengthen hate crime legislative provisions, government have asked the Law Commission to undertake a full review of the coverage and approach of current hate crime legislative provisions. The Commissions consultation was open to the end of 2020 and aims to report to ministers this year. You can find more information here: https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/hate-crime/. We will respond to the review in full when it is complete.
Government is also clear that online offending is as serious as off-line offending. We have now published the response to the Online Harms White Paper which you can find here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/online-harms-white-paper/outcome/online-harms-white-paper-full-government-response, setting out our plans to legislate where companies will be held to account for tackling illegal activity and content, such as hate crime. We are funding a Police Online Hate Crime Hub to improve the police response to victims of online hate crime.
In November 2020, we awarded £1.8 million through the MHCLG Faith, Race and Hate Crime Grant Scheme to support established community groups and civil society organisations to run projects to boost shared values and tackle religiously and racially- motivated hate crime.
The government is now considering a range of options to tackle hate crime beyond the current hate crime action plan. We will work with other departments and civil society partners to explore possible approaches, and to ensure a range of views from communities are taken into consideration.
In relation to NHS workers, the government takes violence towards NHS staff extremely seriously. All colleagues in the NHS deserve to work in a safe, caring and compassionate environment that supports both mental and physical wellbeing. Leaders across the NHS have a statutory duty of care to prevent and control violence in the workplace, in line with existing legislation, so that people never feel fearful or apprehensive about coming to work.
The NHS Violence Reduction Programme aims to protect the NHS workforce against deliberate violence and aggression from patients, their families and the public, and to ensure offenders are punished quickly and effectively. In 2018, the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 came into force. This Act doubles the maximum prison sentence for a common assault from six months to one year, if the victim is an NHS worker. The Ministry of Justice consulted on doubling sentencing to two years in 2020 and the government has agreed to legislate for this when parliamentary time allows.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
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