Majority believe hate crime is a 'serious and growing problem' – study

Majority Believe Hate Crime Is A 'Serious And Growing Problem' – Study
A joint study by the University of Limerick and Queen's University Belfast asked people both sides of the Border about their views on hate crimes. Photo: PA Images
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The majority of people feel hate crime is a "serious and growing problem" in Ireland, according to new research.

A study conducted by the University of Limerick (UL) and Queen's University Belfast found a perception that hate crime is increasing on the island, with people in both the North and the Republic recognising the direct and indirect harms of such crime.


The research, which involved 2,000 respondents, found that the majority of people in both jurisdictions believe the current response to hate crime by the courts and gardaí/police is ineffective.

In the North, just 18 per cent said the PSNI responds effectively to hate crime, compared to 30 per cent in the Republic regarding gardaí.

The gap between the two jurisdictions narrowed in respect of courts, with 20 per cent of people in the North and 22 per cent in the South agreeing that the judicial system effectively handles hate crimes.

The study also identified a concerning knowledge gap surrounding hate crime legislation and sentence enhancement, with the majority of respondents from the North being unaware that a hate-crime conviction will not appear on the person's criminal record.


Professor of Sociology at UL and co-director of the European Centre for the Study of Hate, Amanda Haynes, said aspects of the findings are worrying.

"While public opinion should not determine legislation, public awareness and understanding are important to the effectiveness of the criminal law.

"Our research shows that there is currently a lot of misinformation around the topic of hate crime across the island of Ireland. Such shortfalls in the public’s awareness of current policy responses is concerning."

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