Expanding the definition of hate crime to include goths
A few weeks ago The Ultimate Goth Guide discussed the recent movement in the UK to have the definition of hate crime extend to people in subcultures, i.e. goth communities. Apparently, the definition of hate crime in the UK includes race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability, but it does not extend to personal appearance or subculture. (That, by the way, is similar to how it is defined here in the states.)
It seems that the hesitation of including different subculture communities is a fear that it will be too difficult to know where to draw the line (e.g., would legislation that includes different subculture communities mean that die-hard football fans for a certain team would be covered?)
This movement in the UK seems so progressive when compared to the states — I can’t imagine a similar movement taking off here.
Anyway, I recently stumbled upon this abstract for a recent (2012) article in Criminal Justice Policy Review entitled “Examining the Boundaries of Hate Crime Policy: Considering Age and Gender.” I haven’t purchased the article yet, but it looks good. It discusses Britain’s hate crime policy and why certain groups, i.e. alternative subcultures, are excluded from protection.
Also worth noting, the article mentions the work of Jon Garland who, as it turns out, has written somewhat extensively on hate crimes and recent violent attacks on goths and other subcultures including the murder of Sophie Lancaster.
Here is a link to an interview with Jon Garland and the mother of Sophie Lancaster, Sylvia Lancaster, on labeling Sophie’s murder Sophie as a hate crime.
Here are two of Garland’s articles that are probably also worth checking out.
- Garland, J. (2010) ‘The Victimisation of Goths and the Boundaries of Hate Crime’ in N. Chakraborti (ed.) Hate Crime: Concepts, Policy, Future Directions, Cullompton: Willan, pp. 40-57.
- Garland, J. (2010) ‘It’s a Mosher Just Been Banged for No Reason': Assessing the Victimisation of Goths and the Boundaries of Hate Crime’, International Review of Victimology, 17 (2): 159-177.
Jon Garland, by the way, appeared on this segment of BBCs Thinking Aloud with Sylvia Lancaster, Sophie’s mother, where they discussed hate crime policy and the application to Sophie’s murder.