Findings from a new ISER research project investigating the prevalence of racial harassment in the UK, and its impact on the health of victims, have been published as written evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into hate crime and its violent consequences.
The inquiry is looking at:
- The effectiveness of current legislation and law enforcement policies for preventing and prosecuting hate crime and its associated violence.
- The barriers that prevent individuals from reporting hate crime, and measures to improve reporting rates.
- The role of social media companies and other online platforms in helping to identify online sources of hate crime and to prevent online hate incidents from escalating.
- The role of the voluntary sector, community representatives, and other frontline organisations in challenging attitudes that underpin hate crime.
- Statistical trends in hate crime and how the recording, measurement and analysis of hate crime can be improved.
- The type, extent and effectiveness of the support that is available to victims and their families and how it might be improved.
The research evidence, submitted by Dr Alita Nandi and Dr Renee Luthra, is a unique insight into the prevalence of ethnic and racial harassment and the consequences for vicitims.
“Over the last twenty years, there was no empirical evidence on the prevalence and consequences of ethnic and racial harassment among UK’s ethnic minorities.
The recent rise in hate crimes since the Brexit referendum results has highlighted the urgency of understanding these issues.”
The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) under the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative. It uses Understanding Society, which includes an Ethnic Minority Boost, to understand how ethnic minorities in the UK experience harassment and its impact on their lives.
“The prevalence and persistence of ethnic and racial harassment and its impact on health: a longitudinal analysis” looks at levels of harassment among ethnic minorities living in England over the period 2009-2014 and the association of such experiences with mental health or mental distress and whether there are individual or community level resources that may help ethnic minorities buffer against this.
- Around one in ten ethnic minorities report experiencing ethnic and racial harassment at least once in the last year, this prevalence rate is higher, at around 15%, for some groups
- Almost double the number of ethnic minorities report feeling unsafe or avoiding public places
- Ethnic minorities who report experiencing ethnic and racial harassment as well as those who report living in fear of it, report worse mental health than those who neither experience nor live in fear of it; the association is stronger for those who experience ethnic and racial harassment
- There are very few observable and measurable factors that protect ethnic minorities against the mental health costs of ethnic and racial harassment; these are having more number of close friends and having higher levels of personality traits – Conscientiousness and Openness to Experience
The full submission (pdf) can be downloaded from the Committee page here