DUBLIN –– Following the release of the 2021 Criminal Justice (Hate Crime) Bill on Friday, 16th April, the Irish Association of Social Workers supports the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee’s historic move.
“We’re looking at racism very seriously as we mark our 50th anniversary, so this is very important progress for us,” Dr Colletta Dalikeni, the IASW Anti-Racism Advisory Group Coordinator, said of the news.
“For the first time, the IASW has put its eye on this agenda and the issue of racism. We welcome this bill because social workers work with all people who have been identified in this legislation. People who were vulnerable due to their race, sexual orientation, and disability are the people we can now protect.”
Just weeks after the official launch of the IASW’s first ever Anti-Racism Strategy, the bill comes at a critical time and underscores a significant shift toward the implementation of socially just practices and policies at the highest levels of government.
Co-launched with Senator Eileen Flynn, the 2021 IASW Anti-Racism Strategy highlights the need for greater awareness around racism within the social work sector and calls for cross-sector participation in seeing it through.
“As a member of the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR), we will continue to work closely with INAR in supporting the government in the implementation of hate crime legislation,” Dr Dalikeni said.
Under the new Hate Crime bill, hate crimes motivated by racism, gender expression, and disability will now be punishable by law, including extended prison terms. Social media content that deliberately incites hatred could also carry an offence of up to six months in prison.
The new law will serve to further protect marginalised groups who comprise a significant number of social work clients.
“Because this directly ties in with the objectives outlined in our antiracism strategy, this bill will be instrumental in ensuring the issue of racism throughout Irish society will be a top priority for the government and will, hopefully, foster impactful society-wide change.”
Chair of IASW
Press Contact: Dr. Colletta Dalikeni through the IASW Office: 086 024 1055