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Moving Beyond the Echo-Chamber? The Case for Improving Responses to Hate Crime

De Montfort University, Room 2.02, Vijay Patel Building
15/11/2017 (13:00-14:30)

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, British Society of Criminology Midlands Branch presents:

Moving Beyond the Echo-Chamber? The Case for Improving Responses to Hate Crime


Date and time: Wednesday 15 November 2017, 1.00pm - 2.30pm

Location: De Montfort University, Vijay Patel Building, Room 2.02

Chair: Professor Neil Chakraborti, University of Leicester

Panel: Professor Neil Chakraborti, University of Leicester;  Kim Sadique, De Montfort University; Dr Irene Zempi, Nottingham Trent University

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Abstract:  Hate crime has become an increasingly pernicious problem in many parts of the world, with numbers of incidents rising to record levels and causing devastating emotional and physical damage to victims, their families and wider communities. Within the UK last June’s EU referendum result was the catalyst for a surge in reports of targeted violence, while similar spikes have been seen within the US since the election of President Trump after a prolonged campaign of heated rhetoric and a slow disavowal of white supremacy. Equally alarming levels of hate crime have been documented across Europe with populist political parties in countries such as France, Denmark, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands exploiting anti-immigrant sentiment, fuelling the scapegoating of particular minority groups and feeding off widely-held anxieties.

Within this context the need for fresh responses to hate crime has become all the more pressing. Despite progress within the domains of scholarship and policy, these escalating levels of hate crime – and the associated rise in tensions, demonisation and hostility towards ‘difference’ that accompanies such spikes – casts doubt over the effectiveness of existing measures and their capacity to protect victims of hate crime. As such, this session draws from extensive fieldwork conducted by the panel members to examine the nature, impact and implications of hate crime. In addition to identifying the different forms that hate crime can take and their associated harms, the panel consider ways in which existing faultlines within criminal justice responses compound the sense of distress and alienation felt by victims from a diverse range of communities. They also explore ways in which criminological debate can reach beyond its own echo chamber to connect with ‘real-world’ hate crime responses and experiences, and call for urgent action to plug the ever-widening chasm between state-level narratives and victims’ lived realities.


Neil Chakraborti is a Professor of Criminology, Head of Department and Director of the Centre for Hate Studies at the University of Leicester. He has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications within the fields of hate crime, victimology and ‘othering’, and his books include Hate Crime: Impact, Causes and Responses (Sage, 2nd edition 2015; 1st edition 2009 with Jon Garland) Responding to Hate Crime: The Case for Connecting Policy and Research (Policy Press, 2014 with Jon Garland); Islamophobia, Victimisation and the Veil (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 with Irene Zempi); Hate Crime: Concepts, Policy, Future Directions (Routledge, 2010); and Rural Racism (Routledge, 2004 with Jon Garland).

Professor Chakraborti has been commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council, Amnesty International, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and a range of other funding bodies to lead ground-breaking research studies on hate crime which have shaped policy and scholarship. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ontario, series editor of Palgrave Hate Studies and an editorial board member for the British Journal of Criminology, Palgrave Communications and the Youth Voice Journal. He sits on the Advisory Boards of Tell MAMA and the International Network for Hate Studies, and was Chair of Research for the Board of Trustees at the Howard League for Penal Reform from 2013-2016.

Kim Sadique is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at De Montfort University, Leicester. Kim has published on issues of religion, faith & crime and disablist hate crime. She is the Lead Editor of the book: Religion, Faith & Crime: Theories, Identities and Issues (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016 with Dr Perry Stanislas). Kim is a Board Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Transcultural SIG and Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) as well as being on the Leicestershire Police Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel. She is particularly interested in theological and transcultural issues in relation to offenders and victims as well as engagement with multi-faith communities.

Irene Zempi is a Lecturer in Criminology at Nottingham Trent University. Irene has published widely on issues of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime. She is the co-author of the books: Islamophobia: Lived Experiences of Online and Offline Victimisation (Policy Press, 2016 with Dr Imran Awan) and Islamophobia, Victimisation and the Veil (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 with Dr Neil Chakraborti). Irene is a board member of Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), Nottinghamshire Hate Crime Steering Group, and Leicestershire Police Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel. As a practitioner, Irene has extensive experience working with victims of hate crime, domestic violence, volume crime and anti-social behaviour at Victim Support.

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