For Lefties too Stubborn to Quit
The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918 ? John Borgonovo ? Launch on Thursday 01:54 Wed May 22, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
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Gender roles and perception? 17:38 Tue May 21, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
No2CrokePark2 ? More 13:15 Tue May 21, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
Progressive Film Club 11:15 Tue May 21, 2013 | WorldbyStorm
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Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
In God?s Country 00:39 Mon May 13, 2013
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Dublin Opinion >>
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
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Irish Left Review >>
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
NAMA Wine Lake >>
A shot at bias in the media
Separating the News from the Noise Thu Apr 04, 2013 21:14
Blessed with nothing but good intentions Fri Feb 22, 2013 18:04
The Household Charge - How They Failed to Shape Our Perspectives Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:48
The web's political rainbow Wed Dec 07, 2011 09:47
The Forgotten Constituency: The Majority and The Irish Economic Crisis Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:49
Racist Incidents Support Helpline (R.I.S.H)
Thursday April 28, 2005 21:45 by Alfred Abolarin 028 90 315 791
Update: Freephone Helpline Campaign Northern Ireland
The campaign is geared towards establishing an independent free phone helpline to combat race crime in Northern Ireland and to ensure qualitative and consistent ‘cultural sensitive’ support are given to victims, especially to those suffering in silence.
This initiative will provide good quality information and support to victims of racist crime. It will contribute to a reduction of repeat incidents and encourage statutory agencies and local community residents to tackle perpetrators.
The Helpline will provide a vital resource for victims.
This campaign proposal was written 3 years ago by Interact Northern Ireland.
Over the years, Members of the Minority Ethnic communities have been called to one consultation after the other without any tangible, practical outcomes in addressing the issue of racism.
Northern Ireland has seen a steady increase in the number of reported racist incidents over the last number of years. However, even with this increase in reporting many people still do not have the confidence to report incidents involving either themselves or their loved ones. There are many reasons for this. Some people may feel that the seriousness of the incident is not such as to warrant police involvement. Others may believe, rightly or wrongly that a police investigation will not lead to criminal prosecution despite the introduction of the new hate crime legislation. The legislation is only as effective as its implementation.
In 2001/02 there were 185 cases reported to the police, 2002/03, there were 226 and in 2003/04 the number doubled that recorded the previous year, 453. It is important to note that these are the numbers recorded by the police service of Northern Ireland, despite the concerns of PSNI of under reporting.
Whilst there has been increased publicity regarding many racist incidents and attacks the experience of groups in the black and minority ethnic sector is that most incidents are not reported. This means that incidents are not effectively monitored through statistics and victims do not have access to adequate support or redress. A key element in addressing this would be the establishment of an independent accessible 0800 helpline to report incidents and to provide advice and support to victims.
Summary role of helpline will be to;
Provide victims of racism / racial incidents free, confidential and accessible advice on all of the options open to them; (signposting and referring as appropriate)
To collect statistics on racist incidents and serve as an independent monitoring point for reporting racist incidents. Ideally the role of the line would also cover:
Intervention in emergency situations by seeking help from statutory / voluntary / community agencies when the caller is at risk Ø Follow up with victims to assess the support / or adequate investigation of incident.
Engage with other agencies in order to improve the provision of services to victims of racism. Accessibility of helpline:
Helpline needs to be 0800 number to be equally accessible across Northern Ireland. The helpline needs to be accessible to speakers of languages other than English. This can be achieved through linkage to sessional interpreting or a telephone interpreting contract (such as those held by Health and Social Services Trusts).
Ideally the line would be available 24hrs a day, depending on its specific role. Needs to be fully independent of policing. The police already have a number for reporting crime and already collect statistics on racist incidents. There are a range of reasons why many victims will not want to report things to the police and therefore there is a need for an independent separate mechanism.
The helpline of course can explain the process of reporting the incident to police as an option the victim has.
Hosting of the helpline: There is debate as to whether such a helpline would be best placed within the NGO (non governmental organisation) sector, or within the statutory sector under the auspices of an independent public body. In terms of the case for it being under an independent public body there are a number of key arguments.
Ø A main tenant is that the gathering of independent statistics, supporting victims and providing appropriate remedies is a statutory responsibility which should be mainstreamed rather than delegated off. Ø Delegation could leave a short term project with a limited support and power. In terms of negatives some groups within the minority ethnic sector would be concerned that a statutory agency may not necessarily have the skills to run such a service. This is as there may be low numbers of Persons who have actually experienced racism within those organisations, have languages other than English, experience of working on anti-racism issues and access to networks within the sector. However the potential structure outlined below may serve to mitigate this.
As regards hosting in an independent public body the Equality Commission would seem to be the most appropriate body. It is clearly within their remit as they ran a similar initiative for the reporting of racism a number of years ago. We understand this was dropped due to low uptake. However the context has changed and such a service would now be viable. There are a broad number of groups at grassroots, community and service level proactively working on anti-racism issues who could make use of such a helpline and promote it to victims they come into contact with.
Potential Structure: The helpline could be set up under the auspices of the independent public body and structured as follows. Ø As regards bringing in the necessary skills job descriptions could reflect this and recruitment can be external. An option would be that staff speak a major minority ethnic language facilitating direct access to speakers of those languages with sessional / telephone interpreters facilitating contact over other language barriers.
The running of the helpline could be overseen by a project board that incorporates representatives from the minority ethnic sector and other expertise.
A second stakeholder group representative of statutory agencies and others that have a role in tackling racism and racist incidents could be established to facilitate effective appropriate engagement. To this effect, a letter has been sent to chief commissioner of the equality commission, Dame Joan Harbison, requesting a meeting with members of the steering group in April 2005.