New perspectives on ‘hard to reach’ communities in largest ever study of hate crime victimisation

Posted by er134 at Nov 18, 2013 11:04 AM |
Emerging themes from Leicester Hate Crime Project to be discussed at free public lecture at the University of Leicester on Wednesday 27 November

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 18 November 2013

Communities regarded as ‘hard to reach’ often welcome the opportunity to share their experiences through grassroots engagement, researchers from the University of Leicester have discovered as part of the Leicester Hate Crime project.

Hundreds of under-explored victims living in Leicester have shared their experiences with the research team through surveys, interviews and focus groups.

The research suggests that acts of hate and prejudice can be directed towards a wide variety of minority groups, whose voices can often go unheard, including the homeless, asylum seekers, people with mental health problems, people with learning difficulties and many others.

One victim said: “I was in Tesco and a man said: ‘I bet you’re ugly under that Burqa.’”

Another commented: “Buses are the worst. I get told that wheelchairs just get in the way and we shouldn’t use public transport.”

These points will be outlined at a free public lecture on Wednesday 27 November.

The lecture, entitled ‘‘Ten Things I Hate About You’ Stories of Prejudice, Bigotry and Targeted Violence in Leicester’, will grant an insight into the nature of hate crimes and hopes to shed light on real-life accounts from victims of abuse.

Over the course of the talk Dr Neil Chakraborti from the University of Leicester’s Department of Criminology will outline ten of the most significant, and sometimes surprising, themes to have emerged from the project so far.

Dr Chakraborti will highlight a series of important challenges for criminologists, practitioners and policy-makers, not least in recognising the different forms that hate can take, the diverse range of victims affected, and the emotional and physical damage caused by these offences.

The talk will also reflect upon the methods used to engage with vulnerable, marginalised and ‘hard to reach’ communities, and will suggest that it is often methodological inflexibility and researcher discomfort which makes such communities ‘easy to ignore’ rather than ‘hard to reach’.

Dr Chakraborti said: “Our findings will be released next September but already we have heard from over 1,000 victims, making this the largest study of hate crime victimisation ever to have been conducted.

“We have found that grassroots engagement – for instance, speaking to people from all kinds of different backgrounds and walks of life, whether at community events, leisure sites, places of worship or neighbourhood centres – has been key to our success, rather than relying solely on community leaders, gatekeepers and representatives to give us access to particular communities.

“Many of those from so-called ‘hard to reach’ communities have welcomed the opportunity to share their experiences with us, and this suggests that they are not so much ‘hard to reach’ in research terms as ‘easy to ignore’.

“We can use our findings to help criminal justice agencies and other key service providers provide effective answers to the challenges posed by hate and prejudice.”

The lecture draws from research conducted as part of the Leicester Hate Crime Project, a two-year ESRC-funded study exploring people’s experiences of hate, prejudice and bigotry.

The free public lecture will take place on Wednesday 27 November in the Bennett Lecture Theatre 2 between 1:00pm and 2:00pm.

For more information, or to share your experiences with the research team, please visit http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/criminology/research/current-projects/hate-crime. You can also keep up with their progress by following @HateCrime_Leics on Twitter.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

There will be live tweeting from this lecture via @UoLNewsCentre #hatecrime

For more information contact Dr Neil Chakraborti at nac5@le.ac.uk

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