Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
417. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if there is a transgender drop-down option in the Garda PULSE system in order to record hate crimes against transgender persons; and if not, if the situation will be rectified. [3670/20]
In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and control of An Garda Síochána and the efficient and effective use of resources. This includes responsibility for Garda ICT platforms. As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters.
I have been informed by Garda authorities that the PULSE system has a facility to allow recording of ‘Discriminatory Motives’ as part of the Incident Victim Assessment process. I understand that the Victim Assessment Screen requires the mandatory recording of data relating to the apparent motive for a crime incident, such as whether it has been motivated by discrimination on specific grounds including age, disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
An Garda Síochána has also in recent months adopted a Diversity and Integration Strategy. The Strategy includes a working definition of hate crime to assist Gardaí in delivering a victim-centred service and to assist them in responding consistently and robustly to reports of hate crime.
The Deputy may also wish to be aware that my Department is working to update Ireland’s criminal law on both hate speech and hate crime as a priority.
A comprehensive public consultation has been carried out to assist in this process, including a public survey and an opportunity for stakeholders to make formal submissions. This consultation has been carried out to ensure that the Department fully understands the lived experience of those impacted by hate speech and hate crime as well as the views of professionals and other stakeholders in the field, so that the laws developed are robust, clearly understood and effective in dealing with unacceptable incidents.
There has been strong engagement by the public with this topic. The Department has received in the region of 3,800 written responses to the consultation, including approximately 175 detailed written submissions.
In parallel, my Department has carried out comparative research on international best practice on hate crime legislation. This research is currently being finalised and is expected to be published shortly.
My officials are analysing all of these materials, as well as other relevant legal and policy information, to ensure that any legislative proposals which are made are evidence-based, proportionate and effective, while respecting freedom of expression.
There will be a further opportunity for stakeholders to share their views when the legislative proposals on this important issue are published for discussion.