violent attacks on members of subcultures should be considered hate crimes
On the eighth anniversary of the death of Sophie Lancaster, who was murdered for being a goth, her mum calls for discriminatory attacks of this kind to be recorded as hate crimes by police.
Exactly eight years ago today, on 24 August 2007, Sophie Lancaster died as a result of serious injuries sustained 13 days earlier, when she and her boyfriend were attacked by a group of teenage boys in Lancashire park, having been targeted for being goths.
The brutal murder of Sophie Lancaster was recorded as a hate crime, with her killers facing longer sentences because of it, and Manchester police have recorded all such attacks on goths, punks and other members of subcultures as hate crimes since 2013.
On the anniversary of Sophie's death, her mother Sylvia has called for all police forces to record attacks against people who are part of a subculture (because they are part of that subculture) as hate crimes, alongside violent crimes predicated on people explicitly because of their race, religion, sexuality or ability. "I want every police force in the country to take steps towards giving goths and people from alternative subcultures the recognition they deserve under the law and for attacks on them to be recorded as hate crimes," Sylvia told the Independent.
"Some forces say it would mean changing their systems and others say these issues don't happen in their area, but the reality is that all areas of the country have these issues. The fact that people do not report this type of crime at the moment doesn't mean it doesn't happen," she says, explaining that, "people from alternative cultures are not going to report these cases at the moment because they don't feel they are going to be taken seriously. Changes need to be made to give them the confidence to contact the police."
Sylvia Lancaster runs the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity she set up after Sophie's death to "challenge the prejudice and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures"; their work has included a collaboration with the make-up brand Illamasqua to celebrate alternative beauty in a collection called S.O.P.H.I.E.