Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Stop Hate UK Press Release
Stop Hate UK is a national organisation working to provide support to victims of Hate Crime, across the strands of Disability, Gender Identity, Race, Religion and Sexual Orientation. We provide a 24 hour helpline in some areas of the UK for victims and witnesses to contact us to report Hate Crime and receive support. We welcome the introduction of the Tell MAMA project in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester.
All forms of Hate Crime are underreported. People may be afraid of speaking out or don’t know that what has happened to them is a Hate Crime or how to report it. In particular, people who have experienced Islamophobia may be worried that organisations won’t understand their experiences, why they have been targeted or their religious beliefs and practices.
This is where organisations such as Stop Hate UK and Tell MAMA have a part to play. By providing our independent reporting services and working in partnership, we are able to give victims the choice about when they report, how they report and who they report to. We then give them the choice about what happens next with the information they give us, while at the same time helping to build up a picture of just how prevalent Islamophobia is in the UK.
Between April 2008 and June 2011, 3436 incidents were reported to Stop Hate UK’s Hate Crime reporting service. Of those incidents, 190 of the victims identified that they were Muslim. 107 perceived that the incident was motivated by their race, ethnicity or nationality, 8 identified that they were targeted because of their religion and 38 said that they perceived it was motivated by both. The other victims who identified themselves as Muslim reported other reasons for being victimised.
These statistics demonstrate that it is often not possible to tell whether Islamophobia is aimed at someone because of their religion, faith or belief or their race, ethnicity or nationality or both. However, whatever the statistics show, Islamophobia is unacceptable. The work that Stop Hate UK need to do, alongside organisations and projects such as Tell MAMA, is to continue to increase the confidence of victims in reporting these Islamophobic Hate Crimes and Incidents where they occur.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
“One in five black students have been the victim of at least one racial hate incident during their current studies according to an NUS survey.
The findings come after Crown Prosecution Service figures in February showed an increase in hate crime and nearly half (48%) of Asian and Asian British students to the NUS survey reported fear about being subject to racial prejudice. 42% of reported incidents took place in and around educational institutions. More than half (54%) of the victims of race hate incidents surveyed had considered leaving their courses as a result.
No Place for Hate: race and ethnicity, is the fourth in a series of research reports funded by the Home Office which analyses responses from over 9000 students across further and higher education.
The report calls on universities and colleges to take an active role in making campuses safer for potential targets of hate crime.
NUS black students’ officer Kanja Sesay said: “Racially motivated hate crimes have not gone away and universities cannot afford to turn a blind eye any longer.
“There are already significant barriers to going to university for Black students and if universities refuse to acknowledge that these problems exist on their campuses then those barriers will grow.”” Source: Union News, Tuesday 22 May 2012.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
This week (20-26th May, 2012) is Dementia Awareness Week. In support of this we would like to encourage you to read an article by Nicola Clark, published in The Guardian – Comment is Free today (Tuesday 22 May 2012) entitled ”If you know someone with Dementia, make time for them”. To read the piece please click on this link:
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
“GFEST – Gaywise FESTival is London’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) cross – art festival for all. GFEST 2012 call for entries submission is announced in three categories: Films / Visual Arts / Performances.
Produced by arts charity Wise Thoughts, GFEST features the best of established alongside fresh or young artists and queer talent working across the arts. Events range from exhibitions, group and solo performances, film screenings, debates, creative workshops and parties. The arts and culture festival also helps profile human rights issues and makes a creative case for ‘Equality in all walks of life.’ GFEST takes place annually in November in various venues across London.
GFEST 2012 dates: 12 to 24 November 2012” Source: Gaywise FESTival.
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
The following is a poignant article written by Katharine Quarmby - author of ‘Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People’ – highlighting why the Leveson Inquiry must not keep ignoring the devastating effects that irresponsible reporting by some the British press has had on people with disabilities.
“Module One of the judge led Leveson inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the British press following the phone-hacking scandal at News of the World, took evidence in Module One of the relationship between the press and the public. The list of core participants, many of whom gave oral evidence at the inquiry for this module read like a roll-call from British public life, including celebrities such as the singer Charlotte Church and the actor Hugh Grant, as well as more private individuals affected deeply by press intrusion, including the McCann family and Christopher Jefferies, who was arrested in connection with the murder of Joanna Yates, and later released without charge. A number of politicians and police officers also gave evidence.
The organisation Inclusion London, along with 10 disabled peoples’ organisations and individuals (including me and my friend and former colleague, the journalist John Pring), also submitted evidence to be considered in Module One – about the way in which the press writes about disabled people, particularly recently during the war on words regarding the reform of disability benefits. (The NUJ is also submitting evidence on this.)
We sat back and waited – hoping that at least one organisation would be called to give oral evidence about the effect that some inaccurate and unbalanced reporting of disability benefits was having on individual disabled people on the streets and in their homes. We were given to understand that it would either be dealt with in Module One or on Module Four on Regulation – or both. One organisation eventually contacted Leveson this week to see if there was any progress and was told that all our evidence had been considered – but was not considered important enough to deserve oral session. This is despite the evidence about the effect of such drip-feeding of lies, damn lies and statistics (a recent study has demonstrated that due to such reporting, the public now believes that between 50-75% of disability benefit claims are fraudulent, when the government’s own figures estimate it as less than 1%)
Why? Why is it not important when disabled individuals are attacked in the street, partly because of pernicious stories put about by newspapers? Why is wheelchair user Peter Greener’s experience of three months of harassment because his neighbour had once seen him walking and branded him a scrounger not important? I believe that journalists, including myself, have a responsibility to report accurately and, crucially, to contextualise. I believe that some journalists are over-hyping the extent of disability benefit fraud and are getting away with it while disabled people are paying the price.
I believe that Lord Justice Leveson, and his tax-payer funded inquiry, should do something about it. This inquiry should not merely hear the famous victims of newspaper harassment, or those who have become famous, unwillingly and in great pain, because of individual tragedy. This inquiry should also hear those silenced and fearful voices from a whole community which is trying to speak out – of the disabled victims who just make it into the local newspapers because they have been tipped out of their wheelchairs or shouted at in the street because of irresponsible newspaper reporting using the dangerous rhetoric of “scroungers” and other pernicious untruths. Leveson owes it to those individuals, who are not famous, who won’t necessarily make the headlines, but who deserve justice, to hear their stories – to honour their pain, and to question those reporters who are, at least, partly responsible.” Source: The Huffington Post, 27th April 2012.
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