As the evenings get lighter and we look to welcome spring, staff here at SARI have continued to shine a light on the impact of hate crime and how it affects people. Each month so far, we’ve spoken about the cases we’ve been supporting people with, but a huge part of our work is also about awareness and education.
Throughout March we’ve received a number of requests from schools to go in and deliver assemblies and intervention workshops in a bid to help prevent hate crime taking place in the first place. SARI believes that getting this early intervention for young people is crucial, as they’re the next generation of people who will be playing a vital role in shaping our society. Other schools have been in touch because children and young people or staff are suffering hate crime and they need our input to reduce the level of incidents and to support those impacted. We also work with those who have perpetrated the abuse to tackle their negative views, attitudes or behaviours – hopefully turning them round so they don’t do it again and changing their hearts and minds so they respect and enjoy the diverse world around them.
As well as our awareness and education work in schools schools, we’ve delivered a whole host of awareness workshops through our partnership work as part of the Bristol Hate Crime and Discrimination Service and via our National Lottery funded Every Victim Matters Service. We deliver these to professionals and members of the community to make sure that they know how to identify what a hate crime is, how to support a victim and give them the tools to report these incidents if the victim does need additional support. These sessions also encourage agencies and groups to take the right actions to respond to incidents and perpetrators. Our aim is to encourage agencies and groups to send a strong message out that hate crime will not be tolerated, to deter future offending and hopefully to build trust and respect between communities.
Another area we’re focusing our work on is how best to support people seeking sanctuary. With all the recent news in the press around government legislation on people coming to this country, we know these types of incidents can lead to a spike in hate crime, and we’ve recently seen an increase in referrals from people who are currently living in the contingency hotels across the region. We’re working closely with other organisations like Bristol Refugee Rights, Borderlands and others to make sure these people’s voices are heard and they are being treated fairly.
March also marked International Women’s Day, which celebrates a pivotal focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender inequality, lack of reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. Even though there have been huge strides in women having equal rights, we still see a number of misogynistic hate crimes against women. In the last year we opened 10 cases of gender-based hate crime. In one case, we supported a woman who was experiencing harassment and intimidation from a neighbour. In another case, our client was bullied after she rejected her neighbour’s advances.
As mentioned in last months round-up, SARI’s Outreach and Development team have been developing a new Allies partnership. And in the last month, alongside our partners at SWAN Advocacy and the Diversity Trust, the team has achieved their goals in terms of delivering awareness and empowerment session as part of the Every Victim Matters programme.
As well as taking on new cases, we also helped many of our clients find a resolution to the situations that had arisen as a result of being a victim of hate crime.
Here are some examples of the feedback clients gave us this month regarding the service they received from our team.
“There aren’t many organisations like SARI around and the work that they do is invaluable. I felt completely supported by our caseworker and appreciate all the work they did for me.”
“Without SARI I don’t know where we would be. Our caseworker did everything possible. They helped speak to the school in helping my son and my daughter. They did not let the police get away with trying to sweep our case away and they were instrumental in helping us move to our new home. We have a better life now and it is in huge part thanks to SARI.”
“The police & housing are treating us much better since SARI’s intervention. We are also very grateful for all the calls and meetings that SARI attended for us. We are currently awaiting to move from the area and SARI’s letter has been very helpful.”
In March we received 60 new referrals, which shows that people are still spreading hate in our region. As always, we will continue to support any victim of hate crime who needs our help.