The Suss #34 | The Suss with Hate Crime

Most of us strive to be as tolerant, open and inclusive as possible. Of course, this isn’t representative of all of Irish society. All the signs point to instances of racism and other forms of hatred being on the rise in Ireland, and indeed across the globe. But to what extent is the justice system on the side of victims in these cases? Do our current laws act as enough of a deterrent or encourage victims to come forward? We fear not.

This week, The Suss enlists the help of Aga Wiesek of the European Network Against Racism to tell us exactly what a hate crime is. Current laws are failing the marginalised and much needs to be done to address all of this. ENAR are part of the Coalition Against Hate Crime that are campaigning to bring Ireland in line with the rest of Europe.

We’ll also hear from Eoghan Ryder and Alex Laplas. Their experience of holding hands around Dublin City demonstrate that we didn’t simply abolish homophobia overnight by voting in favour of marriage equality in 2015. Eoghan and Alex’s story will leave you in no doubt as to the need to fill this glaring gap in our laws.

A hate crime is, typically, a violent crime motivated by prejudice, when a perpetrator targets a victim because of their perceived membership of a certain social group.

Hate crime has two important elements:

1. Criminal act: Hate crimes are acts which are treated as crimes in criminal law, such as assaults, theft, criminal damage, arson or murder.

2. Bias motive: Hate crimes are motivated, at least in part, by hatred of someone’s real or supposed identity or background.

People targeted by hate-motivated crime in Ireland are usually:

From an ethnic minority background (racist hate crimes)

From a religious minority (religious hate crimes)

Lesbian, gay or bisexual (homophobic hate crime)

Transgender (anti-transgender hate crimes)

People with disabilities (disablist hate crime)

Exit track: Courage – Villagers