Tackling hate crime needs a combined approach
Evan Harris MP, President of DELGA, has called for a combination approach to tackling incitement to homophobic hate crimes in the Commons debate on the new Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill today. He argued that as well as the legal approach to tackling incitement we need to have more thorough and inclusive sex and relationships education in schools, and deal with homophobic bullying more strongly, to achieve the wider social change needed.
He said, "I feel-I speak as the president of Liberal Democrats for lesbian and gay equality-that there is a real problem with homophobic hate crime and it is right that there should be an offence of incitement to homophobic hatred. The only question that remains for me, and I suspect for colleagues on the Liberal Democrat Benches, is how that is balanced against free speech. It is regrettable that we did not have this offence before the offence of incitement to religious hatred, since I think that the incidence is greater. The best ways to tackle homophobic hatred are through proper, balanced sex and relationships education in the national curriculum that makes it clear that one cannot and should not stigmatise lesbian and gay people, and by tackling homophobic bullying far more assertively."