Safeguarding responses to hate crime and discriminatory abuse are an under-explored topic, yet have a substantial impact on people being supported by social care services. A team of interdisciplinary researchers from BU and Royal Holloway London are evaluating the extent of restorative practices for safeguarding adults in England. 

This project will explore whether adult safeguarding offers an opportunity for additional support to people experiencing hate crime and abuse, as well as what practices safeguarding teams use and which organisations they may work with, to help build a clearer national picture of current practice.

Hate crime refers to a criminal offence which occurs when a person is targeted due to their characteristics, such as disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity (Allen and Zayed, 2022). Reported hate crimes are responded to via the criminal justice system, and disability hate crimes have doubled in the last five years (Home Office, 2022). However, many cases do not result in criminal charges. This has a significant impact on disabled people - often leading to withdrawal from social life and a negative impact on their wellbeing (Healy, 2018).

Discriminatory abuse is one of eleven categories of abuse in safeguarding adults policy. It refers to “harassment, slurs and similar treatment, because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion” (Department of Health and Social Care, 2023). In contrast to criminal justice responses, a safeguarding approach focuses on wellbeing from a person-centred perspective. 

Understanding current practice

The project will explore which practices are used in safeguarding responses to hate crime and discriminatory abuse. This is being done by a national survey, which will be shared with senior professionals or managers working in the field of safeguarding adults.

The responses will provide a snapshot of how hate crime and/or discriminatory abuse are addressed through safeguarding adults processes. The team hopes to establish current practice and practice development, and understand the nature of partnerships safeguarding adults services have with other organisations to support safeguarding work.

The results of the national survey will inform future phases of the research, identifying potential local authority ‘case studies’ where good practice is occurring, as well as any barriers to good practice, for in-depth evaluation.

The research findings will be helpful for local authorities who are seeking to develop their approaches to safeguarding adults who have experienced hate crime or discriminatory abuse.

The project is being led by Bournemouth University in collaboration with Karl Mason from Royal Holloway, University of London. It will run during Spring-Summer 2024, and results will be published later in the year. 

Click here to complete the survey 

Alternatively, scan the QR code below to be taken the survey website. The survey will take less than ten minutes to complete. 

QR code to complete the project survey