UCLan to host free hate crime event

17 March 2021

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is hosting a free online event to highlight hate crime.

At 4.00pm on Monday, 22 March, the University will welcome a presentation from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

The Foundation was set up in 2007, following the brutal murder of Sophie. She was a goth and was attacked simply for the way she looked.

The judge at her murder trial recognised the vicious and violent assault as a hate crime – equal to all other strands of hate. However, legally there are only five ‘protected characteristics’ in England and Wales: race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender. The Law Commission is currently considering extending the protected characteristics.

UCLan’s Criminal Justice Partnership; Peace and Justice Network; and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team are supporting that more characteristics to hate crime legislation such as gender and alternative subcultures are recognised as characteristics.

The audience will hear about the tragedy of a young life lost to violence and the lessons that can be learned from her short life. Participants will be encouraged to honestly explore their responses to people who are different from them.

Dr Sylvia Lancaster, Chief Executive of The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, commented: “I am delighted for this opportunity to share Sophie’s story and the work of The Foundation at UCLan. It is a privilege to be working again with such an innovative and internationally respected organisation that is such a key player in the criminal justice sector.

“Since Sophie’s murder in 2007, we have worked tirelessly to educate people that difference in not something to be afraid of. We should be able to be who we are, without fear of prejudice or violence. Much of our work has been to highlight how hate crime can be targeted at people outside of the five protected characteristics currently monitored by law and explore the effect that hate crime has on victims, their families and the wider community. In hearing the human story of the brutal attack on my daughter, the grim reality of the true impact of hate hits home.”

UCLan’s Dr Kim McGuire, a hate crime expert, will introduce the event and Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Clarke from Lancashire Police Constabulary and lead for Lancashire Violence Reduction Network will open the seminar. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

The free event, which has been funded by National Lottery Community Coronavirus Support Fund and the Department for Culture Media and Sport, is open to all but attendees must pre-register on Eventbrite here. A link will be sent on the day.

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