8.36 Hate Crime and Harassment
Harassment is unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 if it’s because of or connected to one of these things:
- gender reassignment
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
The Equality Act calls these things protected characteristics. Harassment because of one of these characteristics is called harassment related to a protected characteristic.
The police and Crown Prosecution Service have agreed a common definition of hate incidents.
They say something is a hate incident if the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on one of the following things:
- transgender identity
- sexual orientation.
Children and families from any minority group related to thier protected characteristc are likely to have experienced harassment, discrimination and even institutional racism.
Experience of harrassment is likely to affect how a child behaves, e.g when being assessed by a worker, or being cared for by a carer of a different ethnic origin.
All agencies have a responsibility to recognise harassment. Children's Social Care and the Police must respond effectively when incidents of harassment and attacks realted to a child's protected characterstics place a child at risk of Significant Harm.
Failure to protect a child from any form of harassment (whether it originates from within or outside of the family) or take action when harrassment is being alleged is likely to undermine all other efforts being made to promote the welfare of the child.
Families may suffer religious and/or racial harassment sufficient in frequency and seriousness to undermine parenting capacity. In responding to concerns about children in the family, full account needs to be taken of this context and every reasonable effort made to end the harassment.