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Old 04-04-2013, 11:56 AM
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Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

Decision follows campaign by Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity set up in memory of girl fatally attacked in 2007

Police in Manchester have said they will begin recording offences against members of alternative subcultures in the same way they do attacks based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

The Greater Manchester police force – the first in Britain to take the step – said that "goths, emos, punks and metallers" and members of other alternative groups have often endured abuse.

"People who wish to express their alternative sub-culture identity freely should not have to tolerate hate crime," Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said.

Manchester police said the change would enable officers to give more support to victims of anti-punk or anti-Goth crime. But it won't necessarily mean tougher sentences.

Although British judicial guidelines call for people convicted of hate crimes to receive tougher sentences, the Manchester decision has not been recognised nationally.

The police decision follows campaigning by the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity set up in memory of a 20-year-old who was fatally attacked in a park near Manchester in 2007 because of her appearance.

The judge at the trial of the five teenage attackers called the assault on Lancaster and her boyfriend a hate crime.

The foundation is campaigning to get hate crime laws expanded to include "alternative subcultures or lifestyle and dress" and has gained support from musicians including Gary Numan and Courtney Love.

The victim's mother, Sylvia Lancaster, said the police move was "a validation of the work we have undertaken in the past five years and hopefully other forces will follow [Manchester police's] lead."

There are no immediate plans to change the national hate crimes register, but last year equalities minister Lynne Featherstone acknowledged that the five recognised categories of hate crime was "an incomplete list."

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Old 04-04-2013, 05:25 PM
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Re: Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

Read about this today

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Attacks against goths, punks, emo kids, metallers and other followers of alternative music scenes will be recorded as hate crimes by Manchester Police.

The move has been hailed by campaigners as a much needed drive to tackle a form of prejudice that causes misery to thousands every year but rarely receives much attention.

It is the first time a British police force has classed attacks on subcultures with the same seriousness as offences against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

The change means victims of a crime who believe they were specifically targeted because of the way they dress will receive special support from the police. However courts and judges will be unable to impose harsher sentences on perpetrators because that would require legislative change.

Senior officers at Manchester have been working closely with the mother of Sophie Lancaster, a 20-year-old Lancashire student who was viciously beaten to death by a gang of teenagers after they took exception to her dreadlocks and piercings. Following her daughter’s murder, Sylvia Lancaster later set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation which campaigns for better protections in law for members of subcultures.

The announcement was widely praised by “alt scene” followers, many of whom regularly have to run a gauntlet of abuse – from the verbal to physical – purely because of the way they choose to look. David McComb, editor of Bizarre magazine, told The Independent: “It’s fantastic news. It seems ridiculous to me someone would attack someone purely because of the way they look or how they dress. But sadly it’s not a rarity.”

He added: “This is not the end of the story. It’s one small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Anyone who doubted whether goths, punks, emos and metallers faced abuse needed only to pick up a copy of Bizarre in the two years following Sophie murder in 2007. Each month they ran a regular two page slot in memory of Sophie asking readers to describe the kind of vitriol they faced. Replies flooded in, ranging from shouts of abuse to being spat at and physical assaults. Many remarked that if such attacks were targeted against a religious or racial community they would have caused widespread public revulsion and a much firmer policing response.

Xander Dodd, a 28-year-old from Coventry currently sporting pink hair, facial piercings and tattoos, told The Independent he had been physically attacked twice because of the way he looks. “The abuse becomes a day to day thing,” he said. “You don’t go out to certain places at certain times because if you do you’re an easy target. It should not be acceptable to abuse or threaten someone because they look differently.”

Emma Lake, a 32-year-old retail manager from Camden, north London, who has sleeve tattoos, a chest piece and facial piercings, said abuse was common while growing up in Liverpool and could cause real damage to teenagers especially.

“Nowadays I tend to head out to places where it’s socially accepted to look the way I do but it’s very hard when you’re 15 or 16 and have nowhere else to go,” she said. Her employers – the Office shoe chain – have no issue with how she dresses but she believes companies that refuse to hire those who adopt a subculture lifestyle also help reinforce wider prejudices.

“Obviously we choose to dress the way we do and I chose to adorn my body but there are parallels with religion,” she said. “People chose a religion but you wouldn’t discriminate against someone because they choose to worship a certain way or dress differently. The fact I chose to appear in a certain way shouldn’t count against me.”

Liverpool resident Louise Street, 34, manager of a football team for goth girls, said she hoped Manchester’s initiative would be adopted by other forces. “I’d love to see the rest of the country follow suit, because Manchester isn’t the only place this happens,” she said. “If the police worked together, they might understand the amount of hate crime against goths and emos.”

Johna Curtis a 30-year-old shop worker from Manchester, who describes his look as "very borderline transvestite," said he has been a victim of bullying all of his life.

"It started getting significantly worse when I started dressing in a gothic style when I was 14. I got beaten up every day in lessons at school and the teachers wouldn’t do anything.

"I got attacked at a fairground by 14 lads once. I had my face kicked in and I was severely injured. Every time I see gangs of young men I have to cross the road. I do everything I can to avoid them. "

Mr Curtis welcomed the move by Manchester Police, but also feared that people could exploit the new classifications.

"Just because they’re a goth it doesn’t mean they can’t provoke people," he said.

"Obviously most attacks on goths are going to be based on their appearance but they’re not all saints.

"It’s good that there’s more protection for people like us but I don’t know if it will change anything to be honest.

"I think there’ll always be hate. There’ll always be racism, there’ll always be sexism. There’ll always be people who want to beat up men who wear makeup. In 50 years it will be the same I think. It’s a sad thing to say but I reckon there will always be prejudice of one form or another."

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Old 04-04-2013, 05:28 PM
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Re: Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

Think it's a little OTT. Let's protect every single little group we can think of against 'hate crimes'.

I mean come on, I've been bullied by metallers!! They used to really pick on me something rotten at school when they found out I went to church Funny thing is, once we'd got the verbal ping-pong out the way, we began talking and became great mates

One metaller lad used to be really savage to me and pick on all facets of my life and views yet I'd never spoke to him or did him no wrong

Then we got talking and we fell in love He was great, wonder what he's up to now?

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Old 04-04-2013, 06:10 PM
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:18 PM
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Re: Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

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Then we got talking and we fell in love He was great, wonder what he's up to now?
Im sure it wont be hard to track him down and find out

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Old 04-05-2013, 06:39 AM
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Re: Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

Fatally attacking someone because you don't like what they are into is atrocious any right minded person would agree.

I suffered untold bullying at school for having long hair, playing guitar and being a rocker in the late eighties and through the nineties. I would say we maybe had it a little harder as there was no recognition at all in the mainstream consciousness of any alternative lifestyle and certainly no division of subcultures.

We were all (well the four of us in my school ) just 'Devil Worshipers' when I was at school, this is from peers, teachers and clergymen alike!

But it came with the territory. That was the ship I chose to sail on and those were the colours I chose to fly high. After all these years I think it made me a better person. It toughened me, improved my argumentative skills, showed me the beauty of sticking to your principles, a keen sense for hypocrisy and injustice in others, the ability to spot commercial faker y at 100 paces and gave me a quick sense of humour. Everything any good rebel should possess.

I don't think anyone should have to deal with an escalation of threatening behavior to the point of violence, no matter who they are. But the last thing that should be done is society molly-cuddling every little group. That to my mind kills free spirit, if it's all acceptable then where is the rebellion? These kids will get lazy! You need the resistance to push against to strengthen yourself.

Ok aaannnd......* soapbox dismount*

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Old 04-05-2013, 06:50 AM
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Re: Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

Another point (Just splitting hairs here).
Why does the mainstream media and establishment still insist there are GOTHS!?
There haven't been any GOTHS in about 15-20 years! These whippersnappers don't know what GOTH is.

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Old 04-05-2013, 10:34 AM
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Re: Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

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Originally Posted by icheerthebull View Post
Im sure it wont be hard to track him down and find out
I've tried but he's moved away and isn't on any Social Network.

I just wish him well

He was so sweet. When I had my brain bleed, he kept me motivated when I was learning to walk again as it was very difficult. He said he'd give me £10 for my first 10 steps - and he did Lol, me being Scottish, money would motivate me to do anything

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Old 04-05-2013, 10:45 AM
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Re: Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

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Originally Posted by Hobbslefthand View Post
I suffered untold bullying at school for having long hair, playing guitar and being a rocker in the late eighties and through the nineties. I would say we maybe had it a little harder as there was no recognition at all in the mainstream consciousness of any alternative lifestyle and certainly no division of subcultures.

We were all (well the four of us in my school ) just 'Devil Worshipers' when I was at school, this is from peers, teachers and clergymen alike!
So we so suffered for being 'different' in our own right. I hope that it has made you a stronger person than those pathetic bullies were. It certainly has me.

Calling you's 'Devil Worshipers' is utter ignorance. You were bullied for seemingly 'worshiping the Devil' and I was bullied for going to Sunday School (my own choice with my friends and we loved it).

You were bullied for long hair, I was bullied for having short hair

Oh FFS

People come with so many appearances, beliefs, personalities, dress sense, accents, ETC

Dare to be a sheep, dare to be different, dare to be yourself, dare to be in a 'group', people will always be subject to some form of discrimination/hate/bullying/verbal rubbish. Those who pick on us tend to have the insecurities. I worked that out after confronting them in a polite manner, one girl got my fist in her face though then we became great friends as she'd 'met her match'. Suddenly I was cool

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Old 04-05-2013, 12:23 PM
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Re: Manchester Police to Record Attacks on Goths, Emos and Punks As Hate Crimes

Strange that, I always ended up being friends with people after fights. Like hobbslefthand I was into punk and metal in school and was the only one in a school of about 3000 so got the weird devil worshiper tag, a few years after korn and machine head ect made metal popular again, just my luck I always wondered if I would run into some of the people who took the piss at a gig or something. Strange thing is I never felt part of any scene I just liked what I liked but got shit for being white, got shit for being a goth got shit for being a skinhead, got shit for being a punk, never considered myself any of those things well apart from white lol

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