Racial Harassment IssuesIf you have been attacked, intimidated, or insulted because of your colour, race ethnicity or national origin, then you are a victim of racial harassment. Racial harassment is a serious criminal offence.It can take many forms such as:

  • Verbal: offensive remarks; comments; jokes or threats; name calling or swearing;
  • Molestation: abusive or obscene telephone calls or letters; dumping of rubbish outside your home or through your letterbox; creating persistent noise; malicious complaints about you especially to those in authority;
  • Physical violence: actual grievous bodily harm or threat of such; damaging your home or property by for example by smashing windows or doors;
  • Racist graffiti: written or drawn slogans.

Racial harassment is illegal. People who do these sorts of things can be prosecuted in the courts. Everyone has the right to live without the fear of attack against themselves or their home and property. Authorities like the police, the local authority and your children's school have a duty to protect you and your family from racial harassment and to take action against the attackers.People who attack others because of their race can be evicted from their homes, fined or put in prison.If you are attacked, you should contact the police immediately. You can go to the nearest police station or dial 999 - tell the police that the attack was racially motivated. You should also report the incident to your landlord. Your local One Stop Service, Racial Equality Council, Citizens Advice Bureau, law centre, community centre or refugee group can also be contacted for help.

For our leaflet on Reporting a Crime or Offence please CLICK HERE

There are practical steps both the local authority and the police should take to help challenge harassment and support victims of racial harassment. They can:

  • arrange for surveillance equipment to be fitted;
  • recommend that additional security measures are fitted by landlords;
  • inform the education department or school where a child is being bullied;
  • involve social services departments if additional support and counselling is required.

Remember - any of the above mentioned organisations can offer advice. Your local library and the telephone directory will have contact details.*Macpherson ReportThe Macpherson report was published in the aftermath of the murder of Steven Lawrence. The report produced new guidelines in not only defining racial harassment but also highlighting methods available to the public in reporting racial harassment abuse. The following is a summary of the report:

  • That the murder inquiry was "marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers."



  • Racism can be defined as conduct, words or practices which advantage or disadvantage people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin.
  • This can be both overt or more subtle - each can be very damaging and must be challenged.
  • Institutional Racism is the collective failure of an organisation to provide appropriate and professional services to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin.
  • This is demonstrated by processes, attitudes and behaviour which discriminate through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racial stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.


How should response be made?

  • Promote success
  • Take positive action
  • Involve asylum seekers and refugees
  • Review existing partnerships - internal and external
  • Racial equality means quality<


Key areas for action:

  • Additional duties for LEAs and school governors regarding the prevention and monitoring of racist incidents.
  • Local authorities and other agencies to draw up strategies under the Crime and Disorder Act which address racism and help promote cultural diversity
  • That local authorities consider reviewing their provisions for training in racism awareness and valuing cultural diversity



Recommendations for service delivery: 


  • The national curriculum should better reflect the needs of a diverse society
  • LEAs and school governors to have additional responsibilities to prevent and tackle racism, including monitoring racist incidents


Education - Building on good practice:

  • Guidance for governors
  • Information
  • Working with children and young people


Handling of racist incidents:

  • The police should consult with other agencies
  • Looking at better ways of reporting racist incidents, especially 24 hour services, and not just via police stations
  • Partner agencies can work together better to provide support for serious racist incidents
  • Should look at running joint race awareness/anti racist training with other agencies


Handling of racist incidents - Building on good practice:

  • Tenancy enforcement procedures
  • Centralised Monitoring of Racist Incidents (CMRI)
  • Multi Agency Panel (MAP)


Complaints about racial discrimination:

  • People should know how our complaints procedures work - these need to be checked to make sure that information is accessible in various formats and languages
  • These procedures should be better publicized

Excerpts from the Members' seminar of Newcastle City Council presentation.