What is Hate Crime & How to Deal with it in Richmond Upon Thames?

Home Office Definition

Hate crime is defined as ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.’ This common definition was agreed in 2007 by the police, Crown Prosecution Service, Prison Service (now the National Offender Management Service) and other agencies that make up the criminal justice system. There are five centrally monitored strands of hate crime: race or ethnicity; religion or beliefs; sexual orientation; disability; and transgender identity.

Hate crimes are a subset of notifiable crimes that are recorded by the police and make up around one per cent of all crimes (based on police recorded crime figures for 2014/15, Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2014/15, Home Office, Bulletin 05/15 13th October 2015).

As an organisation we have been providing support to victims of hate crime due to race, ethnicity, religion or belief for over 20 years. This includes support to local people from BME Communities who have fled torture and have endured abuse from the wider community. Because of difficult experiences in their homelands they often feel vulnerable, and have poor physical and mental health.

The impact of Hate Crime is not the same as a non-hate crime. There is greater psychological and physical impacts. It effects immediate and extended families, communities become isolated and lose confidence to participate in the wider society.

We thought our worries and problems had ended but we were targeted for racial abuse in our new ‘home’. We were abused and people said to us “go back to your country. They called us ‘Pakis’ and our door was continually knocked at midnight and when we opened the door, no-one was there. Living on Edgar Road before EMAG was scary

In 2001 the proportion of EMAG casework dealing with Racial Harassment was 55% across Richmond Borough and the workload was increasing.

We were scared and my children never went downstairs to play as people from the estate hurled racial abuse all the time.

She was six months pregnant and climbing the stairs when a group of 7 or 8 teenage boys and girls pushed her down. They ran away and the Police took no action, they said nothing is established and there is no loss of property. Luckily, my relative and the baby were OK

Prehlad Dhall the Director at EMAG at the time realised he needed more support and hired Ashi Dhillon as a BAME Project worker. The work involved helping black, Asian and ethnic communities (BAME). She knew from first-hand experience their difficulties. She knew about their mental health issues, the racism they faced, their needs and the impact of losing family members. As she spoke Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Kachi, Swahili and BSL (British Sign Language) she was in a good position to help, support and advise a range of people.

We learnt about our rights and that racial abuse was a crime

EMAG has made a huge difference to BAME communities in Richmond upon Thames. Ashi set up the Edgar Road and Butts Farm Support Group on Edgar Road in October 2002 and since then the group has gone from strength to strength. Members come from all sorts of countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe.

Ashi’s work, building links, building relationships and developing community cohesion in partnership with the Police and Social Landlords has reduced Racial Harassment casework to only 7% in 2014.

My life has changed considerably from living in Kabul to now residing in Richmond. For quite a few years I felt I had moved from one hell to another.

Richmond borough has seen low levels of hate crime and remains one of the safest London Boroughs for racial hate crime in the Metropolitan Police Area for the period April-March 2016.

However Hate crime was up 33% on the previous year and with Richmond Borough’s low level of hate crime, increases can appear significant in percentage terms. The majority of these (89%) were Race related. The 33% increase relates to race hate crime and comprises mostly of name calling on public transport rather than more serious violent hate crime.

Nevertheless there is a hardening of views on new migrants and this is influencing how British people are feeling and judging communities. The continuing civil war in Syria, volatile Middle East relations, displaced migrants and recent terror attacks have added to heightened tensions nationally and locally. In Richmond Borough itself we have had focus group discussions with people, some of whom have reflected increasing fear of immigrants and new arrivals and have very negative views of Islam. EMAG is very concerned that this may be contributing to increasing islamophobia and community insecurity. This has recently been reinforced by an Eastern European lady who was given a death threat “You Islamic I will kill you” in a local café because she was wearing a scarf worn by Middle Eastern people. EMAG believes there are many more incidents like this but are not reported due to barriers to reporting.

Notable Barriers to reporting

  • Lack of recognition that a hate crime/incident has taken place
  • Further fear of reprisals to extended family from the perpetrator if they find out you have reported them
  • A perception that they won’t be believed or the incident won’t be taken seriously enough
  • The incident may appear too minor to report
  • The Police are seen as discriminatory and unhelpful
  • Procedures lead to “secondary victimisation” i.e. experience indifference or rejection from the police, as this effectively victimises them for the second time
  • Practical difficulties in reporting  e.g. Language Culture, Communication & Transport
  • Victim may not know who to report to

Who and How to report

NPCC Hate Crime

The recent Brexit campaign to leave and its result has also heightened tensions nationwide with hate crime increasing to 40% (year on year 15 – 28 Jul) and in our last newsletter (to subscribe click here) it was reported that xenophobic stickers have been popping up in the borough. At Emag we actively work with the council, Police and other partners to create an environment where all people respect each other. With regard to these stickers I issued a statement as part of a press release issued by Richmond Council.

 

Richmond Borough

Hate Crime offences 12 months rolling pre-Brexit

Disability 7
Anti-semitic 4
Faith 19
Homophobic 40
Islamophobic 15
Racist 199
Transgender 1
Total 285

Our work is never done and as part of our drive to tackle Hate Crime in Richmond Borough we have been working with Richmond Council and other voluntary organisations to launch a forum called “Stop Hate in Richmond” which will be meeting every quarter. Our 1st meeting was held on the 18th July our next one will be on the 19th September 2016.

The Forum aims to encourage participation from relevant voluntary sector organisations and other services whose clients and customers may be subject to hate crime. These organisations would cover the following protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Transgender
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Religion and belief

Invitees would also include service providers such as Transport for London, NHS and local retailers where hate crime could potentially be committed. The Police who through their work support victims of Hate Crime and bring identified perpetrators of Hate Crime to justice are also invited to the forum.

Michael Allen, Community Safety Manager and Zarah Ramzanali, Project Support Officer for the Community Safety Partnership from Richmond Council were the facilitators of the Forum and were responsible for bringing everyone together.

The purpose of the “Stop Hate in Richmond” Forum is to increase awareness of Hate Crime across Richmond Borough and to understand what each organisation is doing themselves to increase awareness of hate crime according to their specialism. We also find out what steps service providers are taking to reduce the possibilities of hate crime occurring, what policies they have in place and what actions they take if a hate crime has occurred.

The Forum also promotes the STOP HATE helpline 0800 138 1625 text 07717 989 025. All victims should use this number to report Hate Crime. The Forum also strongly encourages organisations to motivate the victim of Hate Crime to report this incident on the STOP HATE helpline and to the Police. If the victim does not want to do this, the organisation should report the crime/incident as a third party. This can result in further support being available to the victim. http://www.stophateuk.org/london-borough-of-richmond

EMAG Support for Victims of Hate-related crimes and incidents

We get referrals from: The Police, Victim Support, Richmond Council and other agencies.

EMAG becomes the voice of the victim who may have felt misunderstood or not heard effectively by other agencies or statutory bodies– once EMAG becomes involved we act objectively and ensure all parties are heard and understood and action is taken by the relevant agencies.

To help victims of hate crime we carry out the following:

  1. Assessment – Focusing on the person and developing trust to help the person make sense of what happened
  2. Victims are lost, confused bewildered and unclear – we help provide clarity and give them moral and emotional support
  3. Traumatic event – Need to be sensitive – facing impact of what happened – Give assurity of confidentiality at all times
  4. Problem exploration – understand the problem – Listen very hard
  5. Give space to understand – help them understand problem and give options
  6. Identify ‘needs’ not ‘wants’ – Identify what they really need – we will signpost if we dont have relevent expertise e.g. Legal, mental health support, Health and Social Services, Housing
  7. Identify Solutions which may involve other agencies – Police, Richmond Council, Richmond Housing Partnership, Victim Support, Shelter for example
  8. Put solutions to practice – agree solutions with client and leave them in control
  9. Build confidence and empower them to solve future problems
  10. Provide on-going support for those where necessary

Community monitoring groups: you should report all hate crimes to the police, but you can also use community reporting methods such as Tell MAMA for Islamophobic incidents or the Community Security Trust for anti-Semitic offences.

We also strongly encourage anyone who has been a victim of Hate crime and needs further support to contact us immediately by email or by telephone on 020 8893 9000/9444/9555.

 

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