Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Oxford Brookes' Principal Lecturer informs 'hate crime' legislation

Monday, 18 March 2019

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Oxford Brookes Principal Lecturer in Law Chara Bakalis’ current research focus is on the regulation of online hate, and on the liability of social media companies for the material that appears on their platforms. Chara has recently worked with different legislative organisations, who have called on Chara’s expertise to help inform reports and legislation for ‘Online Hate Crime’.

Chara was invited by the Scottish Government to offer her views on their new ‘Hate Crime Bill’, which it has developed following a long period of consultation, which Chara also contributed to. Chara was also interviewed as part of a panel of experts from 28 EU countries at Maastricht University for a comparative study on ‘hate crime victimisation’, commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Justice.

Recently Chara was invited to submit evidence to a House of Commons Petitions Committee during the consultation process for the report ‘Online abuse and the experience of disabled people.’ The subsequent report, which uses Chara’s evidence, was instigated by a petition started by Katie Price, a media personality and mother to a child with multiple disabilities. The petition, signed by 221,914 people reads: Make online abuse a specific criminal offence and create a register of offenders. The UK Parliament is looking at whether abuse on social media requires new laws and different approaches to enforcement and regulation.

As part of the new hate crime project which is undertaking a review of hate crime legislation in the UK for the Government, the Law Commission asked Chara to host the launch of their new project at Oxford Brookes on Friday 8 March. The event was attended by a number of high profile hate crime experts from across the country, including Chara Bakalis, who commented ’The Law Commission's work will be pivotal to persuading the government to make the necessary changes to hate crime legislation in order to ensure the victims of hate crime are adequately protected.’ Chara was also invited by the Law Commission to act as an expert panel member for another recent project on reforming online communications. This is an ongoing project to which Chara will continue to contribute. 

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