Hate Crime: Homophobic and Misogynistic Attacks DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Baroness Williams of TraffordMain Page: Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative - Life peer)
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My Lords, it is appalling to think that if you are gay or a woman, getting on a bus or walking down a street puts you at risk of abuse and physical attack for no reason other than you being who you are. I know that the Minister will condemn these attacks. But will she also speak to the Home Secretary and the Minister for Policing to ensure that they are talking to the Met Commissioner, chief constables and police and crime commissioners in England and Wales so that there is no doubt that these criminal acts will not be tolerated in 2019, that firm action will always be taken and that, where necessary, the law will be strengthened?
My Lords, racially and religiously aggravated offences carry a maximum penalty that is one step higher on the sentencing ladder than the same offences if motivated by homophobia, transphobia or disability hatred. The Conservative Party, in both its 2015 and 2017 manifestos, said that it was going to review this. Why are the Government presiding over a situation where homophobic, transphobic and disability hate crime are treated as being less serious than race or religious hate crime?
My Lords, as I have already pointed out to the Minister, one of the gaps in hate crime legislation is the fact that misogyny is still not a hate crime. As she said, this was a hate crime of sexual orientation but also of misogyny. Will the Government just get on their feet and make misogyny a hate crime?
My Lords, I am sure that Members of your Lordships’ House would expect these Benches to join in the outrage at these attacks. We do so fully, condemning them on behalf of the Church of England and of other churches and faith communities. The Minister will know—and I admit—that the churches and other faith communities have their own debates over sexual relationships and practices, including same-sex ones. However, does she know that the Church of England has developed a set of pastoral principles aimed at eradicating the seeds of prejudice, fear and ignorance? Does she also know that that builds on the initiative of our four-year programme in schools, stopping the seeds of hate that she described germinating at a very early age?
My Lords, I cannot be the only Member of your Lordships’ House who thinks that Section 28 poured pure poison into the lifeblood of this country. Will the Minister join me and express from the Dispatch Box her support for Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, the head teacher of Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham, who has bravely resisted a homophobic—what would one call it?
A homophobic mob is protesting against some teaching in the school. As I understand it, these children are being taught about relationships; that some children have two mummies and some have two daddies. That is all it is, and if people do not like it, that is the way the modern world is.