You may be wondering what a small training firm like us is doing signing a Wales-wide national Hate Crime Charter alongside the greats of Welsh Government, County Councils, Police Forces, Universities, Police & Crime Commissioners and Disability Coalitions.
The Charter itself seems like a no-brainer to us. Finding something to object to in the Charter is very difficult to do. It underpins a desire for an environment where victims of hate crime are believed, treated with respect, well informed and able to appeal against shoddy procedures and practice;
- The Right to be heard
- The right to report hate crime
- The right to free and confidential support
- The right to be treated with respect
- The right to privacy
- The right to information
- The right to make a complaint
Since Rivki Rose Training was founded in 2014, we’ve worked primarily in communities high on the deprivation scale in Wales. Since Covid-19 introduced an environment where digital conversation has become ‘the norm’ for many of us, we’ve been able to reach further geographically.
But again, our work is primarily with people experiencing hardship or significant challenges in some way – mental health, disability, unemployment, unpaid carers, low career skills and Refugees for example.
Like many other early adopters of the Charter, it’s caused us to pause and think about how we would put this Charter into practice in the context of the work we do.
We know that there are significant levels of under-reporting in Hate Crime. For example, the 2019 National LGBT survey highlights that ‘more than 9 in 10 of the most serious incidents went unreported’.
The past 7 months has left us with plenty of food for thought. Much of which has contributed to shaping our own commitments around the Charter.
During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, one of the loud narratives was “I don’t see my world reflected back at me.” This is a challenge also experienced by people right across the hate crime protected groups of Race, Religion & Faith, Disability, Sexual Orientation and Transgender identity.
This was important to us to acknowledge when we undertook a piece of work with the Charity Whizz-Kidz at the beginning of the pandemic to deliver virtual employability workshops.
We struggled as educators in a big way to fulfil our self-set commitment of not using any able-bodied imagery in session materials. In the ‘free to use’ resources online for small educators like us, there just wasn’t enough of it. Most photographs featured ill-fitting, too large, ‘hospital’ wheelchairs sat in by children, an obvious prop. Not the vibrant, active, fulfilling images we were looking for that actually represented the real lives of the young people we were working with.
“I don’t see my world reflected back at me.”
The Hate Crime Charter is not just about the way we treat people who have been a victim of hate crime, it is also about how we facilitate an environment where hate crime is less likely to happen and where victims may feel more comfortable and able to come forward and seek support.
Taking the lessons we’ve learned on both personal and professional levels during the pandemic, we’ve set out how we will put the commitments of the Hate Crime Charter into practice.
We will endeavor to:
- Continue to be allies to the Transgender community by using pronouns in our signatures and official paperwork, and encourage others to signify the pronoun they wish to use.
- Reflect society’s world back at it in the imagery we use. We will also challenge creatives to do this better where gaps exist in resources for educators.
- As Active Bystanders, continue to challenge hostility and prejudice where we see it in our line of work, and encourage other professionals to do better.
- Challenge our own subconscious bias, particularly in the part we may play in inadvertently reinforcing heterosexual and ableist society stereotypes.
- Ensure information on Hate Crime Awareness and reporting is readily available to the people we work with.
As a firm we believe in a collective consciousness. That we all have a part to play in creating a better world. No-one should assume they are excused from taking action and playing an active part in society. This is our commitment to the Charter and to victims of hate crime this Hate Crime Awareness Week.
We hope our commitments will be far reaching enough in our work to ensure that the Hate Crime Charter is not just for Hate Crime Awareness Week, but that it’s also for the lifetime of our work in Wales and the rest of the UK.