The prevalence and persistence of ethnic and racial harassment and its impact on health: a longitudinal analysis
Our research: Recently-conducted research, using nationally representative data on ethnic minorities in the UK, has demonstrated a high prevalence of ethnic and racial harassment and a strong association between experiencing ethnic and racial harassment and mental health. The research found that ethnic and racial harassment is severely underreported in police statistics: around 10 per cent of ethnic minority people reported experiencing ethnic and racial harassment in the past year. Further, almost twice as many ethnic minority people felt unsafe or avoided public places due to their religion, ethnicity, race or nationality. Experiencing ethnic and racial harassment, or fearing it, was associated with poorer mental health, an association larger than the difference in mental health between the employed and unemployed. Relevance to the work of IOPC: Widespread experiences of ethnic and racial harassment are likely to complicate interactions between ethnic minority clients and authorities, including police. Firstly, because ethnic minorities are likely to be mistrustful of authorities in the face of widespread personal experience of harassment, and second because of the fact that experiences of ethnic and racial harassment will result in ethnic minority clients who are more anxious and depressed. Awareness of this general context is necessary when handling cases involving ethnic minorities, regardless of the specific grounds for the complaint.