Safe Schools Alliance were interviewed recently by Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society about hate crime legislation for their latest report Policing Hate: Have we abandoned freedom and equality?
Writing for the independent Westminster think tank, Joanna Williams explores the history, current context and impact of hate crime legislation. By drawing upon interviews with academics and campaigners, the report explores the current challenges to equality before the law and free expression. Serious concerns about the impact of hate crime legislation on free speech are identified. The report calls for an end to the influence of hate crime entrepreneurs, arguing that there should be no extensions to existing hate speech legislation.
As an organisation focused on keeping children safe we were delighted to contribute to this important report. We highlighted how important freedom of speech is for safeguarding.
We said ‘’This message has been made clear from a lot of case reviews, like the Warner Report. When people have raised concerns and they have been wrongly accused of being transphobic or racist, they have been prevented from voicing legitimate worries. We cannot have a culture where people who are trying to protect children are shut down, because that is dangerous. We need an open, honest and transparent culture so we can focus on what’s best for the child no matter what the prevailing ideology of the time.’’
Safe Schools Alliance is proud to have supported a teenage girl who successfully challenged the Crown Prosecution Service to withdraw their schools LGBT Hate Crime Guidance. The guidance threatened to criminalise children for asserting their rights to dignity, privacy and safety.