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National Hate Crime Awareness Week

Hate Crime Awareness Week: 12th – 19th of October 2019 

 

We must end hate crimes against children now

 

Every day, transgender and gender-exploring children face an unsafe environment at school.

In 2017, Stonewall found that nearly 1 in 10 transgender pupils have received death threats from their peers.[1]

No child should have to live in fear of becoming the victim of a hate crime, and no child should feel that bullying and harassing their peers is acceptable and without consequence.

Still, some school staff, media, politicians, family members and other authority figures are wilfully demonising transgender and gender diverse young people, normalising acts of aggression towards them by giving ‘permission’ to bullies who seek to make their lives a daily misery.

We have failed the next generation if we see them committing hateful acts of exclusion, name calling and physical and verbal abuse and do nothing. It should be the responsibility of authority figures to teach empathy, understanding and compassion, and all adults must take a stand to prevent bullying and hate crimes.

The Department for Education reports that: “In the year from April 2017 to March 2018, 17% of young people aged 10 to 15 in England were bullied in the previous 12 months in a way that made them frightened or upset.”[2] And the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) reports that incidents of race hate crime against children, as young as less than a year old, is on a rise for the third year in a row.[3]

Many children of many identities and backgrounds face bullying, and experience school as an unsafe space every day. For some, the ignorance or even prejudice of teachers add to the bullying, and our many years of experience tell us that, in some cases, the teachers themselves encourage or contribute to bullying.

Transgender and gender-diverse children thrive and feel safer when their teachers foster a supportive and inclusive environment, rather than an “othering” and excluding one. This applies to all children. Trans children are as diverse as any other child and can be met with several kinds of prejudice. The UK faces a rise in hate crime across all  protected characteristics and every single one of them can intersect.[4]

Making sure your child knows that they can ask questions in safety and that the answers they receive are based in compassion and empathy rather than fear and hatred, is vital.

If we teach children basic respect, we can create safer schools without the need to fear for our children’s safety, whether they may be potential victims of hate crime or criminalisation.