The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/canada/justice/disproportionate-harm/dh-005-01

Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canada/justice/disproportionate-harm/dh-005-01
Last-Modified: 1997/01/16
Source: Department of Justice Canada


5.1 Recommendations

On the basis of the findings reviewed in this report, the
following recommendations relating to policy and research
are made:

1. Further consideration should be given to the Hate Crime
Statistics Act (Bill C-455) which received first reading in
Parliament in 1993, but which has not beenreviewed further.

2. A uniform definition of a hate crime should be developed
in consultation with all stakeholders in the area across
Canada. These stakeholders should not be restricted to the
criminal justice system.

3. Consistent with the practice in other countries, the
definition of a hate crime should not require the exclusive
motivation threshold currently used in some jurisdictions.
Hate crimes should be defined as crimes in which hatred or
bias; was in whole or in part responsible for the commission
of the offence.

4. In order to protect the privacy of individual victims,
the definition of a hate crime should refer to the "actual
or perceived" group status of the hate crime target.

5. Uniform guidelines should be developed to permit greater
consistency in the application of the definition of what
constitutes a hate crime.

6. The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics should adopt
the collection of hate crime statistics as a priority for
future information requirements in the area of criminal

7. Questions relating to hate-motivation should be added to
the data elements currently collected on the revised Uniform
Crime Reporting (UCR) survey (UCR II).

8. In order to estimate the true extent to which hate crimes
are underreported, questions about hate-motivation should
also be added to the General Social Survey (GSS)
victimization survey.

9. Consideration should be given to increasing the amount of
resources devoted to research into the nature and origins of
hate crimes in Canada.

10. Consideration should be given to the creation of new
Criminal Code offences which would better reflect the true
nature of hate crimes. One such offence could be defined as
the desecration of property which carries religious
significance. These offences would replace the application
of mischief as a charge in cases of hate crimes directed at
synagogues and other places of religious worship.

11. Greater efforts need to be made to increase visibility
of the criminal justice response to hate crimes. This
includes reaching out to the groups that have traditionally
been the target of hate-motivated crimes.

12. Specialized Hate Crime Units should be created in all
major urban police forces across the country. These units
should be composed of officers with special training in the
area of crimes motivated by hate or bias. In addition to the
conventional police functions of responding to incidents,
and gathering evidence, these units should also participate
in various police-community activities. The experience of
the Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal police services shows how
an effective Hate Crime Unit should function.

13. Hate crime units in police agencies should be constantly
in contact with the populations most at risk for hate
crimes. This suggests periodic meetings with these groups to
ensure that these communities are aware of hate crime
trends, and that the police are responsive to the
communities that they serve and protect.

14. In light of the extremely low reporting rate, and the
disproportionately high rate of violence in hate crimes
directed at gays and lesbians, a principal focus of any hate
crime strategy should be upon the gay/lesbian communities in
Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

15. In order to promote greater public awareness of this
form of criminality, an effort should be made to convey
information about hate crime motivation to the news media,
so that this material will be communicated to the public.

16. When an individual receives an enhanced sentence for a
hate-motivated crime (according to case law or the new
Sentencing Bill), this ground for aggravation should be
noted in the reasons for sentence, and should be part of the
offender  information system which is communicated to
federal or provincial correctional authorities.

17. Confronting hate crimes is not the unique jurisdiction
of the criminal justice system. As with other socic legal
issues such as drinking and driving and domestic violence, a
general social response is necessary. Accordingly, a greater
effort should be made to educate the public about this form
of criminal behaviour. A major focus of any such initiative
should be directed at schools.

18. Community groups should take an active role in educating
their members about ways to respond to hate crimes when they
occur. The activities of the 519 Church St. Community Centre
provide a good role model in this regard.

19. Community surveys should be conducted of the populations
most at risk in order to gauge the extent to which they have
confidence in the criminal justice response to reports of
hate crimes.

20. Consideration should be given to a national police
training workshop, which would involve police officers from
all hate crime units across the country, in order to promote
a uniform police response to the investigation of hate

5.2 Conclusion

An effective criminal justice response to hate crimes
involves a number of important elements: close police-
community relations, public confidence in the effectiveness
of the police response to reports of hate crimes as well as
appropriate processing of those reports by the courts. The
quality of the police response to hate crimes is critical,
as is the public perception of that response If people feel
that the

criminal justice system is not responding appropriately and
vigorously to the problem of hate crimes, these incidents
will remain unreported. However, nothing is more critical
than having an accurate idea of the true nature and full
extent of the problem.This can only come about if a greater
effort is made to collect comprehensive hate crime
statistics. At the present, Canada lags behind other western
nations in this regard. The present report represents the
first, small step towards documenting the incidence of this
pernicious form of criminal activity, which, by its very
nature, strikes at the heart of a multicultural society.<29>

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