Belfast Telegraph

Race hate crimes not being identified: report

By Chris Kilpatrick

Race hate crimes in Northern Ireland are not reaching court because criminal justice agencies are failing to properly identify them, a report has found.

A survey by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) highlighted flaws in the recording of race hate crimes and made 29 recommendations to tackle the problem.

Latest police figures show there is more than one race hate crime reported in Northern Ireland every day.

Victims told the NIHRC they had been traumatised by their experiences. "Victims have told us how they've become afraid to leave their homes and how they've felt pressure to move out of their neighbourhoods," said NIHRC chief commissioner Michael O'Flaherty. "Attacks such as these have no place in our society. Our society needs to tackle racism as a matter of law, policy and practice."

Mr O'Flaherty said the commission would continue to work with criminal justice agencies to ensure hate crime is dealt with "in a way which ensures that practice is human rights compliant and victim-centred".

The new report, entitled Racist Hate Crime: Human Rights and the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland, was launched at Stormont yesterday by Justice Minister David Ford.

Last year, 470 race hate crimes were reported to the PSNI.

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