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Understanding Hate Crime on Public Transport

   School of Social Sciences

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  Dr I Zempi  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This studentship seeks to understand victims’ experiences of hate crime on public transport such as buses, trams and trains. It will support public transport operators, local authorities, police forces and British Transport Police (BTP) with recommendations for tackling this problem.  

Hate crime refers to criminal offences that are perceived by the victim, or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate towards an individual because of their identity. Criminal justice agencies in England and Wales are required to monitor five strands of hate crime, also referred to as ‘protected characteristics’: race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity. According to most recent police recorded crime data, there were 124,091 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales in year ending March 2021 (Home Office 2020). In particular, there were 92,052 race hate crimes, 6,377 religious hate crimes, 18,596 sexual orientation hate crimes, 9,943 disability hate crimes and 2,799 transgender hate crimes. However, hate crime remains a hugely underreported crime across society and on public transport, and thus these figures are likely to only reflect the tip of the iceberg.  

The proposed project will examine the nature and impact of hate crime on public transport such as buses, trams and trains upon victims, as well as the effectiveness of public transport authorities and criminal justice agencies responses to this victimisation. Furthermore, the proposed project will not focus solely upon the five strands of victim identity (namely, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status) which are monitored by criminal justice agencies, but also examine hate crimes/incidents suffered on public transport by other groups (such as misogyny towards women or attacks against goths), whose experiences are often overlooked by academics, policy-makers and practitioners. In this regard, the study will use a broad and inclusive definition of hate crime to capture the experiences of individuals from any background, who feel that they had been victimised because of their identity or perceived ‘difference’. This framework is important because it allows to expand upon the range of victim groups and experiences typically covered within conventional studies of hate crime, employs intersectionality (in order to examine the relationship between victims’ different aspects of identity) and gives a voice to victims who tend to be ‘invisible’ within official statistics, policy and academic research.  

We welcome proposals that use qualitative or quantitative approaches, although would particularly welcome mixed method approaches to address this challenge.  

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