Tackling Racist Incidents - A Toolkit for Scottish Housing Providers

Toolkit Contents

This toolkit provides a straightforward framework for helping housing providers challenge racism in their communities.

We value your feedback, and would be grateful if you would leave your comments using the comment box at the bottom of each toolkit page.
- gives an overview of racial harassment and best practice guidance for social landlords.
- looks at legal remedies.
- consists of a model policy statement.
- consists of a model procedure.
- consists of sample forms.
- contains a poster and leaflets for your organisation.
- contains a glossary and bibliography with useful references

How to use this toolkit

You can use the best practice suggestions and model policy and procedure to shape existing policy and practice or to measure your current practice.

Download our poster

Help us to improve practice – please display this poster for housing officers and frontline staff. Contact us for printed copies.

Give us your feedback

The toolkit was developed in collaboration with Scottish housing providers. We welcome your comments, and have provided a feedback form at the bottom of every page for that purpose. Let us know your ideas or experiences of best practice from your own organisation. We also welcome links to posters and leaflets from your own website. You can also or call Positive Action in Housing on 0141 353 2220.

Full training on using this toolkit to tackle racial harassment, and developing your own policies and response, is available. Please email for more info.

Section 1. Overview

1.1 Committee Responsibilities

Below is an action checklist for your management committee (for housing associations/co-operatives) or Housing Committee (for the local authority).

    Action checklist

  • Agree that a policy and procedures to deal with racial harassment should be adopted.

  • Agree an additional clause should be included in the tenancy agreement referring to harassment and agree a timetable for this to be done.

  • Designate a senior member of staff to be responsible for implementing the policy.

  • Agree a programme of training for staff and committee members about the new policy and procedures and monitor this training for outcomes.

  • Monitor the policy: Once the policy has been established, the committee's task is to monitor its effectiveness. The key points to monitor are: number of incidents reported each month/quarter/year; nature of the incidents; the victim's wishes; actions taken by staff; outcome.

1.2 What is Racial Harassment?


The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (1999) defines a racist incident, which includes racial harassment, in the following terms.

"A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person".

The Inquiry recommended that the term 'racist incident' must be understood to include crimes and non-crimes in policing terms, and that this definition be adopted by the Police, local authorities and other relevant agencies

The Lawrence definition is accepted by the Scottish Executive, Communities Scotland, COSLA, CIH Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations along with other public authorities, the police and the criminal justice system more generally.

For the Police, the term 'hate crime' is applied when an incident amounts to a criminal offence and is motivated by prejudice or hate against a particular social group. This covers crimes of harassment or violence committed against people because of their identity; including those motivated by racism, homophobia and against disabled people

For the Courts, evidence of racial motivation is an aggravation which means that the sentence is increased. Provisions set down two ways in which racial aggravation may be demonstrated. Firstly, the behaviour of the accused 'immediately before, during or immediately after carrying out the course of conduct or action' may imply 'malice or ill-will' towards the complainer which is based on that person’s 'racial group'. (Crime and Disorder Act 1998). Secondly, it is also possible to prove racial aggravation by direct evidence of a racial motivation, for example membership of a racist group or the displaying of racist insignia.

Generally, however, proof of racial aggravation is derived from the course of conduct or action since this is usually easier to prove. The use of certain language is particularly likely to be used as evidence of malice or ill-will, thus meeting the requirement of racial aggravation. Such language may be in common use among certain groups, typically abuse which includes pejorative terms describing the victim.

Forms of racial harassment

There are different forms of racial harassment and abuse; this may either be criminal or non-criminal depending on the severity of the incident. While this list is not exhaustive it indicates the range of unacceptable behaviour.

•  Physical attacks;

•  Threats of violence;

•  Racist graffiti;

•  Damage to property;

•  Nuisance incidents such as noise or door knocking;

•  Written or verbal abuse;

•  Offensive or dangerous material through a letterbox;

•  Behaviour such as wearing racist badges or insignia.

1.3 Adopt a Victim Centred Approach

Using the Lawrence definition of a racist incident during an investigation does not prejudge the alleged perpetrator's intention. After thorough investigation of an incident it may be clear that the harassment is not racially motivated. But using a victim-centred approach ensures that any racial motivation is fully considered while the incident is investigated.

In implementing the harassment policy, respect the victim's belief that the incident was racially motivated unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.

Put the victim's interests at the centre of any investigation. Addressing personal safety issues are a first priority. Ensure the victim is fully involved and informed at every stage.

Ensure your investigation is sympathetic and sensitive to the victim's needs. Remember: it is not your job to provide counselling. The most effective thing you can do is to take prompt and effective action to end the harassment.

Ensure that you provide the victim with all the possible options so that s/he is able to make an informed choice about possible courses of action.

Do not proceed against the victim's wishes. Seek agreement before taking any action or involving other agencies. Confidentiality should be protected unless agreed otherwise.

Care should be taken when making first contact with victims of racial harassment, particularly when the initial report has been received from a third party source or witness. This is a complex area with much guidance available in the following sources:

Discussion of any action should be accompanied with a written action plan and a support pack. This support pack could take various forms but should contain information informing your tenant of:

•  how to record and report incidents;

•  what happens next, what they can expect from you, including timescales;

•  information and timescales on emergency repairs and re-housing;

•  practical advice on personal and home safety;

•  contacts for local support groups;

•  details of your complaints procedures.

Consider translating this into the main languages of your tenants.

A best practice example from Bristol City Council can be downloaded here .
Further information from Bristol is available at: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/
Another best practice example from Exeter City Council can be downloaded here .

Both the victim and witnesses should be given the name of a member of staff whom they will be able to contact throughout the investigation for up-to-date information and support. Keep in touch and check if there have been further incidents.

When interviewing someone who does not have English as a first language, ask if they wish to have an interpreter. More information on working with interpreters is available in section 1.12.

1.4 How do crimes amounting to racial harassment differ from other crimes?

Racist crime has a damaging effect on individual victims and their communities as well as the development of a multicultural society. If it is tolerated and if government and justice agencies do not respond appropriately, perpetrators are emboldened, Victims' vulnerability is increased and mistrust grows. (Scottish Executive Research Summary 2002).

Racial harassment victims are likely to be victims again

Crimes which form part of a campaign of racial harassment are different in that the motive of the crime is not money, but racism. The victims are chosen because of their ethnic origin or that of a family member.

Racist crime is often repetitive. While some incidents in isolation may appear minor, if repeated over time the impact can become devastating. (Scottish Executive research 2002).

Racial Harassment and Anti-social Behaviour

There is no comparison between racial harassment and most acts of anti-social behaviour, which is usually committed by people who do not care who suffers. Racial harassment is behaviour committed by people who want a particular family or person to suffer simply due to their ethnicity.

In addition to this, a 2005 study suggests that members of an equality group are more than twice as likely as the general population to experience non racial anti social behaviour.

Racial Harassment and Neighbour Disputes

Racial harassment may be committed by a neighbour. To that extent alone, it could be classed as a neighbour dispute. However, a classification of neighbour dispute is misleading because it is assumed that two parties are partly to blame. A wide variety of grievances go unacknowledged by being labelled as neighbour disputes. Racial harassment should not fall into that category.

Racial Harassment is a type of racial discrimination

The Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 and the 2003 regulations, which incorporate the EU race discrimination directive into UK legislation, places a general statutory duty on public authorities in Scotland to promote race equality. Racial harassment is covered under the race equality duties imposed by the 2000 Act which places a duty directly on public authorities and indirectly on RSLs to ensure that they eliminate unlawful harassment. This translates to practical duties to impact assess policies to ensure that racial harassment by tenants and residents is addressed. More information is available from this PDF document from equalityhumanrights.com

1.5 Make your organisation's stance on racial harassment clear

Committee, staff, tenants and residents should be in no doubt about your organisation's 'zero tolerance' of racial harassment.

•  Inform existing and new tenants of the policy and what actions you will take to deal with perpetrators.

•  Include the policy in your tenants' handbook.

•  Inform the local police, tenants' groups and local community groups of your policy and get them involved in supporting your 'zero tolerance approach'. The police can advise on gathering evidence. Tenants' groups can publicise your message to members. Community groups will be more confident to refer complaints on behalf their service users. . Detailed information on multi-agency working is available at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/coderi.pdf

•  Display 'zero tolerance' posters and leaflets publicly. This sends out a clear message to perpetrators and gives confidence to potential victims.

•  Model posters and leaflets are provided with this toolkit for you to adapt. Better still, get local schools involved in designing the posters and leaflets and award a prize for the best ones!

Devise a racial harassment support pack for your tenants. Details of which are available in section 1.3

By taking effective action against perpetrators you are demonstrating to your tenants and the wider community that you will not tolerate racial harassment and will act to stop it.

1.6 Include a 'no harassment' clause in the tenancy agreement

•  Include a clause in your tenancy agreement which specifically prohibits racial harassment.

•  It should clearly state that racial harassment breaches the conditions of the tenancy and will lead to action which may include eviction.

•  The clause could also include other forms of anti-social behaviour.

•  The types of behaviour covered by the clause should be clearly stated.

•  Alert new tenants to the clause in the tenancy agreement and the landlord's policy on tackling racial harassment

1.7 Your allocations policy

Some housing providers suspend applicants from their waiting list if they became aware that the applicant has been charged or convicted of a racially motivated crime or have a history of complaints against them for racial harassment. This can be done while the housing provider carried out a risk assessment around any possible negative affects housing the applicant may have.

Ensure that racial harassment is given high priority within your allocations policy,

•  identify harassment as a housing needs factor;

•  award maximum points for those suffering severe racial harassment;

•  suspend from your waiting list those who have been convicted of a racially motivated crime or have a history of complaints against them for racial harassment;

•  give priority to victims of racial harassment in the transfers policy; [The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations suggest three levels when categorising the seriousness of racial harassment i) those not safe in their home ii) those not safe in their immediate environment and iii) those not safe in their neighbourhood].

1.8 Referral arrangements with other housing providers

Set up referral arrangements with other housing providers to allow victims of racial harassment the maximum opportunities for rehousing. This is particularly of benefit when the landlord might find it difficult to offer suitable transfers because of the victim's fear of being targeted for harassment if rehoused in the same area.

1.9 Nomination agreements

Consider nomination agreements with Black & Minority ethnic organisations to assist potential tenants who are suffering racial harassment to be rehoused in a safe area.

1.10 Encourage reporting

A Glasgow University study found that up to 80% of racist incidents are not being reported to Strathclyde Police. The report identified a lack of trust or confidence in the police as a major deterrent to reporting.

Many service users approaching Positive Action in Housing for assistance have suffered racist abuse for months yet have not reported it to the police or landlord. When asked why, caseworkers are most often told "they don't take it seriously" or "nothing is ever done about it".

Those that have newly arrived in this country are often unaware of what racial harassment is or how to report it when it happens (Positive Action in Housing Annual Report 2006).

To overcome these barriers you must:

Recognise that people are unlikely to report racist incidents unless they believe that your organisation is competent to tackle racist behaviour effectively and is committed to using its power and resources to do so.

Be proactive in identifying racial harassment. You can improve the investigation of all harassment by asking open ended questions that may allow those reporting harassment to identify the racial element i.e. “is there any reason why you think you are being harassed”

Recognise also that race hate crime will occur in all multiracial communities, whether in urban or rural areas. Expect to receive complaints from your tenants. If you don't, find out why, and whether you are getting the true picture.

Consider setting a target to increase the number of racist incidents reported . Given the tendency toward under-reporting, increasing numbers of reports should not automatically be seen as an indication that the level of harassment is getting worse (although landlords should of course investigate spikes in reports). A rise in reports may reflect greater confidence by tenants that something will be done and may be an initial indicator of success.

One long term target may be that all incidents of racial harassment are reported, the numbers of which may be used as a performance indicator. For a typical social landlord an initial target to increase reports by 25% over the first year would be realistic and a useful first step. This could be replaced over time by more sophisticated measures focusing on outcomes of cases and the action taken.

Develop and participate in local networks of "third party reporting" and where victims may be more willing to report incidents. For example, Positive Action in Housing has a third party reporting agreement with Strathclyde Police so that individuals can complain to caseworkers who will forward complaints to police and liaise on the victims' behalf.

Remember that anyone can report an incident as racially motivated: the victim, a witness, a friend or family member.

See also section 1.5 on 'making your organisation's stance on racial harassment clear'

1.11 Working with Communities

Work closely with the police, local authorities, schools, youth groups and other relevant agencies. Pay particular attention to local minority ethnic groups, independent advocacy organisations and victim support agencies.

Housing offices can act as 'third party' reporting centres for the local police. However, staff must always ask for the victim's consent before giving personalised information to other organisations. Anonymous information may be recorded and passed on for monitoring purposes. A full discussion of the issues around data collection and the disclosure of information on racist incidents is provided in page 18 and 21-24 of this Home Office PDF document

Consult local crime prevention officers for advice, including assessments of home security, personal safety training for tenants, the use of neighbourhood wardens and requesting extra police patrols in areas where persistent incidents are occurring.

Deal quickly with any racist graffiti on or close to housing stock. Local authority environment protection services may provide 24 hour free phone lines to report graffiti. [see emergency and supporting action]

1.12 The use of interpreters

Language and communication difficulties are particularly acute barriers to services. However, this should be seen as an issue for the service provider to address rather than the victim's problem alone.

Remember if the victim's first language is not English; ask if they would wish an interpreter to be present for key meetings where complex issues may be addressed.

Ensure the victim is happy with their interpreter. Pay attention to gender and other issues including that of minorities within minorities.

Although friends and family may provide helpful assistance in routine matters, they may be inappropriate for more formal meetings. Never use children as interpreters. The experience could cause them embarrassment or distress.

Staff should be made equally aware of the need for interpreters and should receive training in how to make the most of such a valuable resource.

There are many interpreting agencies now set up across Scotland to provide interpreters as well as ‘Happy to Translate' schemes.

1.13 Training

Ensure that all staff who come into contact with tenants in their day to day work receives training to ensure they have a clear understanding of what your organisation's racial harassment policy means and how it applies to their own role; whether it is the receptionist, the concierge or the housing manager.

Good training is crucial as it gives staff the knowledge and confidence to identify and investigate racist incidents effectively and take relevant action. It can also improve staff confidence and overcome anxieties over handling cases sensitively. Training should include:

•  The impact racial harassment has on victims and their families

•  The context in which racial harassment takes place;

•  The policy and procedures

•  Interviewing skills;

•  Legal remedies;

•  Working with other organisations

•  Involve local tenants organisations, community organisations, or the police in staff training; it raises awareness and can lead to joint working.

•  The theory and practical details of taking a 'zero tolerance' approach.

Training needs in this area should be included within line management and supervision procedures.

Full training on using this toolkit to tackle racial harassment, and developing your own policies and response, is available. Please contact for more info.

Section 2. Legislation

There are a number of legal remedies, both within criminal and civil law, available to assist in supporting victims of racial harassment in housing.

Housing providers should attain good quality legal advice at an early stage and, with the victim's approval, work closely with the Police, the Procurator Fiscal and local authority community safety teams to ensure that all the resources within the law are used. This is the best way to ensure that you support the victim, take action against the perpetrator and end the harassment.

Although all avenues should be explored it is particularly important that eviction proceedings, and the threat of eviction, are used against perpetrators. For too long it has been the victim who has been moved, through transfers or through tenancy abandonment and becoming homeless. Eviction proceedings should not be halted if the victim decides to move, as the underlying problem remains and will affect other tenants.

Specifically, housing providers should be aware that The Housing (Scotland) Act, 2001 incorporates and adds to the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 in giving anti-social behaviour as a ground for eviction. It also commits housing providers to act in a manner which " encourages equal opportunities" in particular preventing or removing discrimination between people because of a victim's race (Part 7, section 106 (2&3) making reference to Section L2 (equal opportunities) of Part II of Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998 (c. 46).

Also, landlords should be aware that if they fail to act reasonably in dealing with complaints of racial harassment, or any anti-social behaviour, a complaint can ultimately be made to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

What follows is a simplified summary of the law as it concerns racial harassment in a housing context.

The Equality Act 2010 came into force on October 1 2010 and replaced the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. However the Equality Act continues to impose on public authorities a general duty to promote racial equality. Section 149 (5) of the 2010 Act requires every public authority "in carrying out its functions, (to) have due regard to the need to –

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • Advance equality of opportunity between different groups
  • Foster good relations between different groups

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 amended the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 to create a new offence of racial harassment. A person commits the offence of racially aggravated harassment if he or she acts in a way that either causes or is meant to cause alarm or distress. It is an offence if a person carries out a course of conduct which is racially aggravated and which is intended to amount to harassment of another person, or would seem to a reasonable person to amount to harassment of that person.

Section 96 of the Act also provides for courts to take the racial aggravation element into account in determining sentence. Where it is proved in court that an offence has been racially aggravated, the aggravation will be taken into account when sentencing. Racial aggravation occurs if, at the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after it, the offender displays any malice and ill-will based on the victim's membership (or presumed membership) of or association with members of a racial group. No corroboration is required for the racist element of an incident.

Racial aggravation is most commonly applied to criminal law offences such as Assault; defined as 'a deliberate attack on an individual by another' and Breach of the Peace; a crime which is difficult to define but that covers a great deal of behaviour which could be reasonably said to cause someone to be placed in a state of fear and alarm.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 also introduced the availability of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) in Scotland. ASBOs are preventative orders to protect victims of anti-social behaviour and the wider community from further acts of anti-social behaviour. Breaking an ASBO is often a criminal offence.

Anti-social behaviour is defined in the Act as:

• behaviour that causes or is likely to cause alarm or distress to anyone; or

• behaving in a way that causes or is likely to cause alarm and distress to at least one person not of the same household as them.

In this definition 'conduct' would include speech, and a course of conduct must involve conduct on at least two occasions. This would clearly apply to racist harassment.

The Anti social Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 replaces and introduces a number of expansions to the 1998 Act. The definition of anti-social behaviour in the Act includes such behaviour "in the locality" of the house. The aim is to ensure that there is no artificial cut-off which could prevent anti-social behaviour being addressed if it occurs out with the precise boundary of the premises.

Under this Act a local authority may seek an anti-social behaviour order from the sheriff, in relation to any person in their area. A registered social landlord may seek an anti-social behaviour order in relation to any person in or in the vicinity of that landlord's property.

Sheriffs can now grant an ASBO or interim ASBO against an individual aged 12 or over who is continuously involved in anti-social behaviour, and where existing options are not working. Sheriffs also have the power to grant a parenting order if it is decided that this will help prevent further anti-social behaviour by those under 16.

The Act creates a new power for a senior police officer to designate an area, in consultation with the local authority, where there has been significant, continuous and serious anti-social behaviour, for special measures. It gives the police power to disperse groups of two or more people or individuals within groups where their presence or behaviour is causing, or is likely to cause, alarm or distress to any member of the public.

Local authorities now have powers to issue notices to remove graffiti to those responsible for street furniture, i.e. phone boxes, park benches etc. If the graffiti is offensive, local authorities can issue notices ordering that the graffiti is removed within a specific time. If it is not removed, the local authority can carry out this work and claim back the cost from the owner.

The Act also provides powers for a local authority to act against a private landlord in connection with anti-social behaviour by the tenant of a house let by the landlord or by another occupant or visitor to the house. The key power is the issue of an anti-social behaviour notice (ASBN) requiring the landlord to take specified management actions in relation to the tenancy.

Section 140 of the Anti social Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 says that any person using any of the measures in it should "do so in a way that encourages equal opportunities and meets the equal opportunities requirements as defined in the Scotland Act". This covers preventing and dealing with racial harassment.

Full information on the options available to different organisations through anti-social behaviour legislations and powers is available at antisocialbehaviourscotland.com

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was originally intended to stop the activities of stalkers, but might be used to tackle racial harassment. It states that everyone has the right to live free from harassment. The civil or criminal courts can make non-harassment orders, breaches of which are an offence punishable by fine or imprisonment.

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 rendered intentional harassment, alarm or distress, unlawful in certain circumstances. This includes racial and sexual harassment and harassment on the grounds of disability and sexuality.

Section 3. Model Policy

Model Policy Statement

We value all of our tenants and are committed to enabling them to live safely and securely within their homes. However, we recognise that some tenants, particularly those from black and minority ethnic communities, are more likely to experience racial harassment. Therefore, this policy statement outlines how we deal with racial harassment and how our tenants and other agencies can support us in challenging racial as well as other forms of harassment.

This Housing Department/Association/Co-operative is committed to ensuring that our tenants can live in safety and security within their homes and neighbourhood. We recognise that all tenants, regardless of their racial group, may experience neighbour disputes, anti-social behaviour or vandalism. However, we also recognise that racial harassment can be far more insidious based as it is on assumptions and stereotypes, prejudice and hate.

We will take action against tenants who we have grounds to believe are carrying out racially motivated attacks or harassment. Such acts may be physical or verbal and would include:

•  interfering with the peace and comfort of the victim

•  causing nuisance or annoyance to the victim

•  causing the victim to fear for his or her safety

We will:

•  deal vigorously with racial attacks and harassment

•  work in partnership with other agencies to create an environment which encourages racial harmony

•  use every available legal action against perpetrators, including prosecution and eviction

•  provide practical support for Victims of racial harassment to protect them from further harassment and identify and take action against the perpetrators of harassment.

•  regularly monitor incidents of racial harassment, record follow-up measures and review the effectiveness of the procedure.

•  seek feedback from tenants individually and collectively to learn from our experience of handling cases and to publicise our commitment to and arrangements for combating all harassment

•  engage specific measures to support those who may be especially vulnerable as a result of their isolation

3.1 Victim-Centred Approach

Where the victim believes that the harassment is racially motivated, the investigation will begin from that premise and explore all avenues for evidence to substantiate this belief. We will adopt the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry definition of a racist incident when making investigations [see section 1.2].

3.2 Investigation

We will investigate complaints received in person or by letter or by phone with the minimum of delay between receiving the complaint and a formal interview of the victim being carried out. If the victim prefers to speak in their first language, we will follow best practice when arranging a qualified interpreter to assist in the interview. [see section 1.12] .

3.3 Action against perpetrators

It is our policy to take firm action against any tenant perpetrating racial harassment including interdicts, anti social behaviour orders, prosecution for criminal damages, seeking compensation from the perpetrators for damage to property and supporting victims if they seek compensation, and the ultimate sanction of eviction. We will take practical measures to identify the alleged perpetrators of racial harassment, especially where the harassment has taken place over a sustained period of six months or more.

3.4 Property Repairs

We will treat repairs, including the removal of graffiti, arising as a result of racial harassment as an emergency, and where possible will provide such additional security measures as are necessary. Where the perpetrators have been identified we will charge the cost of any repairs to them.

3.5 Re-housing of Victims

We will offer emergency re-housing where there is serious damage to the property or serious injury (or the threat of injury) to the tenant or members of the tenant's household. We recognise that victims of harassment may wish to move from the property/area where problems are being experienced. We will deal with each case sensitively and on its merits based on all of the evidence that it is possible to gather.

Challenging Racial Harassment

We will be proactive in working to prevent the racial harassment of our tenants. In doing so we accept responsibility for the role which we will play, but recognise that the impact of a housing provider is limited and recognise the role of the following organisations:

The Role of Our Tenants

Tenants who live near Victims of racial harassment can play an important role in helping to support Victims. They can establish a climate where harassment is unacceptable. This can help deter perpetrators.

The Role of Tenants Associations

Local tenants' organisations will be required to become involved in developing strategies to help counter racial attacks. We will discuss and develop our policies with tenants' associations to obtain their support and to agree a common front in tackling harassment. For our part, we will provide reasonable training as needed, to enable Tenants Associations to play a full part. For their part, the involvement of Tenants Association in combating racial harassment will be a condition of receiving Housing Association funding.

The Role of Other Agencies

We will work with other agencies, including the police and community support agencies to ensure that evidence is gathered which satisfies legal requirements. We will also ensure that systematic records of all complaints and decisions taken in relation to complaints are kept.

We will ensure that the victim is kept fully informed of the course of the investigation and the choices available, involving her or him fully in the decision-making processes.

We will ensure that any third parties / contractors we employ adopt this or other acceptable policies covering anti-discrimination and racial harassment and will make this a contractual obligation.


We will make all our employees and management committee members aware of the policy. We will provide all employees with on-going support and guidance along with training in the actions they should take in cases of racial harassment. We will monitor the effectiveness of this training.

Monitoring the Policy

All incidents will be recorded, monitored and treated in confidence. Reports will be presented to the relevant housing committee on a regular basis, and treated in confidence. This will include third party reporting. Accurate records will be maintained on an on-going basis and will include agreed support and follow-up measures.


This policy will be continuously monitored and reviewed annually.

Section 4. Model Procedure

4.1 Model Procedure

This procedure provides a framework for housing providers and helps staff understand their role in providing a good service. Accurate record keeping will be needed for action to be effective. While each provider will respond according to their own structure, resources and context the process will retain some common features:

It is extremely important that the procedure is sympathetic and sensitive to the needs of the client and provides a swift response and an effective conclusion to the incident(s) complained of. This will help to achieve two objectives:

Demonstrate to the client that the provider is committed to ensuring their safety and security and

Demonstrate to the perpetrator(s) and the wider community that the provider will not tolerate racial harassment and will act to prevent it.

Effectiveness will depend on a number of practical measures being in place: trained and supported reception and investigation staff, victim support measures, workable solutions, committee support and understanding, successful monitoring and review arrangements.

4.1 First Contact

The person who first receives the complaint should record basic details straight away (see Form RH1) and consider whether, based on the information provided, there is a need to flag the incident as potentially racially motivated (See Box One).

The complaint might come to the housing provider from the individual concerned, their representative or a community organisation. There might be a history to the incident which has not been reported before. Care should be taken when making first contact with victims of racial harassment, particularly when the initial report has been received from a third party source or witness. This is a complex area with much guidance available in the following sources:

At this stage it might be necessary to order emergency repairs or arrange temporary accommodation – especially where there has been any violence shown to the victim or his or her family – this should be carried out immediately. Similarly, if the incident involved racist graffiti, there should be a request made for immediate removal in line with the organisation's policy.

Once a report is recorded, it should be allocated to a named officer for investigation. This will provide a point of contact for the victim and any agency that might become involved. Internally, a named officer will also help focus the housing provider's response.

Emergency and Supporting Action

The investigating officer will inform the maintenance section of any repairs required within immediately or no later than 24 hours after receiving the complaint. Window repairs and graffiti removal should be carried out within 24 hours of the maintenance section being informed by the investigating officer. The security of the property should be treated as category A emergency work and therefore completed within 24 hours. Quantifiable package of support and protection measures should be available from the landlord.

Care must be taken to ensure that good quality evidence is recorded before it is disturbed or painted over by repairs. It is important that the investigating officer and maintenance team work closely to ensure that repairs are not carried out before evidence is gathered and that gathering evidence does not delay repair work.


•  Referral to community advocacy organisations for support and independent advice

•  Emergency legal action and liaison with the police

•  Provision of emergency accommodation or assistance in applying to the local authority

•  Provision and installation of domestic security measures such as fireproof letter box, fire alarm and extinguishers, additional and strengthened locks

•  Provision of panic button alarms, personal alarms and surveillance cameras

•  Contact with emergency services, the assurance of clear communication lines and supply of a telephone if necessary

•  The victim's agreement to the next steps to be taken.

Medium term

•  Keeping the victim regularly informed of all action on the case, giving clear explanations of legal decisions and honouring guarantees on provision of services

•  Providing access to counselling services

•  Developing support groups for Victims of harassment

•  Explaining court procedures and providing an escort for any court appearance

(Tackling Racial Harassment in Scotland: a caseworker's handbook CRE 2000)

4.2 Initial Investigation

The officer allocated the case is a combination of investigator, adviser and advocate. From the start, the focus will be on bringing a swift and effective conclusion to the whole incident. The officer will gather good quality evidence for action against the perpetrator and help the individual make an informed decision about the options available.

Within three working days, the investigating officer will arrange an interview with the victim. The immediate aims will be to:

Give practical support to the victim and his or her family

Deal quickly with any physical damage or threats to security

Ensure swift action against any known perpetrator(s)

The first interview is very important. The victim needs to know what is going to be done and the investigating officer needs to gather as much information as possible in order to decide what can be done and to draw up an initial action plan.

The investigating officer should discuss with the victim where the interview should take place, whether a professional interpreter might help and whether a female interviewer would be preferred.

Using the standard report form RH2 the investigating officer will seek to establish the exact nature of the incident, the extent of the problem and its impact and to collect any evidence including names and addresses of witnesses, any photographic and documentary evidence. This process should provide the first complete statement from the individual and, due to possibility of future legal action, it should be as full and detailed as possible. There should also be a further assessment made of the need for additional security e.g. personal alarm, fireproof letterbox, plastic windows, CCTV and if available a professional witness.

At the end of the interview, the investigating officer should:

•  Have gathered and secured good quality evidence for action against the perpetrator.

•  explain to the victim the importance of reporting immediately any further incidents to the investigating officer and the police, as well as any additional support organisation.

•  encourage the victim to record any further incidents on the Diary Sheets (Form RH3)

•  explain the options, including support measures and possible action that might be taken against the perpetrators. (remembering not to proceed against the victim's wishes)

•  explain the transfer policy. If there is reasonable evidence of racial harassment an application for a transfer will be accepted as a high priority. There will be discretion to approve a transfer where it proves difficult to establish evidence of racial harassment. The investigating officer should also consider reciprocal arrangements with other housing providers in the area

•  agree contact arrangements including frequency and manner of the contact. The outcome of each contact will be recorded in the follow-up report form RH7.

•  give the victim a list of relevant emergency phone numbers - and an outline of how the complaint will be investigated.

Provide a support pack for Victims, translated into community languages, detailing the above but which includes diary sheets, and what the tenant can expect from their landlord including your complaints procedure. [more information on this page].

4.3 Further Investigation

The investigating officer should interview any witnesses using the witness report form RH5 within 1-2 working days of interviewing the victim and continue to gather good quality evidence for use in any action against perpetrators. If any relevant information or evidence arises from these interviews, the action plan might need amending in discussion with the victim. Any interviews with alleged perpetrator(s) should be organised within a further 2 days.

Action where the alleged perpetrator is a tenant of another organisation

If the alleged perpetrator has been identified beyond reasonable doubt and they are a tenant of another housing provider, a full report should be sent to the landlord requesting appropriate action, with the permission of the victim.

Action where the alleged perpetrator is unknown

If the victim does not know who the perpetrator is, the housing provider should make every effort to find out who was involved including from interviewing any witnesses. If the victim has agreed that the police should be informed, they too should make all possible investigations including requesting CTV footage. Regular contact should be maintained with the police investigating the case.

Where the alleged perpetrator is a tenant of the organisation

With the agreement of the victim, the alleged perpetrator may be contacted and interviewed. Consideration should be given to the location of the interview and the presence of an additional staff member during the interview - one member to carry out the interview, the other to record it.

At the interview, with the alleged perpetrator(s) the investigating officer should:

•  explain the nature of the complaint

•  explain the provider's policy

•  ask the alleged perpetrator for his/her comments

Full guidance on interviewing an alleged perpetrator is available on www.raceactionnet.co.uk

The intention of the interview is to discover the alleged perpetrator's side of events and to help prevent any further incidents. This should be made clear in the interview.

The interview should be noted using the Alleged Perpetrator Interview Form RH6. A meeting should then be held with senior members of staff to draw up a detailed programme of action in respect of the alleged perpetrator. The programme might involve:

•  warning letters and interviews, varying in severity;

•  charging the perpetrator for damage to the provider's property;

•  instituting legal proceedings, with the agreement of the victim.

•  referral for police investigation

Where the investigating officer has grounds to believe that the alleged perpetrator was responsible for the harassment a follow up letter should be sent within one day of the interview confirming the discussion that took place, re-stating relevant clauses in the tenancy agreement and the organisation's objectives to stop harassment, support the person being harassed and take action against alleged perpetrators.

A follow-up letter to the victim may also be required at this time to confirm any action taken to deal with the complaint and to propose a date and time to meet in order to review the situation if necessary.

The following might act as a checklist at this stage:

•  Obtain advice at an early stage if it looks as if legal action may be required. Maintain close liaison with solicitors experienced in dealing with cases of racial harassment.

•  Gather a high standard of evidence, including statements and photographic evidence - liaise with the police and consider the use of surveillance equipment, professional witnesses and private investigators if necessary.
Some organisations report that replacing 'yellow' bulbs in street or common area lighting with brighter 'white' bulbs has allowed them to collect better quality, more useful CCTV images

•  Encourage victims to keep diary sheets and take photographic evidence of injuries or damage if possible.

•  Be prepared to use verbal and written warnings and to charge alleged perpetrators for damage. Seek an ASBO or interim ASBO if necessary – but be guided by the victim's wishes.

•  If perpetrators are unknown, consider a more general warning letter, surveillance; preventative work; involvement of tenants associations.

•  Liaise with the police to see if they would be willing to visit local residents and increase their presence in the area.

4.4 Towards a Resolution

Once the details have been established, it will be possible for the investigating officer and senior staff to determine an appropriate course of action. The time scales outlined in the procedure are offered as guidelines only and as a reminder of the need to ensure a speedy resolution. Time scales may have to vary according to circumstances but the following provides an idea of what may be required:

•  Regular visits to the victim and, with agreement, liaise over the provision of additional help from local groups if appropriate.

•  Priority action on a transfer request to ensure that it is dealt with promptly liaising with other organisations if necessary to obtain a transfer offer and ensuring that the victim is kept fully informed.

•  With regard to the alleged perpetrator set out a range of action including initial interview and warning letters. Also consider the need for legal advice and the range of associated action: eviction, ASBO, charging for the cost of any repairs.

•  Seek legal advice at an early stage and discuss the merits of any proposed action with the victim beforehand.

•  Set out the range of repair work needed and ensure that the

•  emergency status of these repairs is adhered to.

The programme of action can be amended as circumstances change but it is important that staff are clear about their role at each stage.

Each follow-up visit or action taken in relation to the victim should be carefully recorded and kept on file using the monitoring forms devised for these situations. Similarly, in the case of the alleged perpetrator, each follow-up interview or action should be carefully recorded and placed on file and kept securely.

There may be times when delays in the progress of the action plan occur. Good casework administration can help in these circumstance and will include:

•  An agreed action plan with identified timescales and clear responsibilities should provide an essential first step.

•  Following any interviews or the emergence of additional evidence or information, amendments may be necessary to the action plan and considered in consultation with the tenant.

•  Each development should be recorded internally as a file note and confirmed with relevant external partners, including the victim and potentially the alleged perpetrator(s).

•  This framework should help when delays need to be challenged. Approaches to statutory agencies should make reference to statutory duties, relevant policies and standards of good practice. Emerging delays should be checked quickly.

•  If reassurances are not provided and further delay seems likely, consideration should be given to further action including: written reminders, calling of case conferences, highlighting practical solutions and moving up the management scale.

The investigating officer will keep the victim informed of action taken, at least once a week for the first month, to ensure that harassment has not restarted. The weekly contact will also provide an opportunity for the investigating officer to note the contents of the completed diary sheets and decide how the investigation or action against the alleged perpetrator(s) should proceed. Where regular visits are not possible, frequent contact by telephone with the victim may be maintained.

The investigating officer should also make sure that the police and any other agency contacted at an earlier stage are kept informed.

4.5 Reaching a Conclusion

The action plan will help shape the outcome of the case. As the views of the complainer are central in defining this outcome, it is important that records are kept, action plans agreed and progress maintained and regularly reported on. These efforts should help maintain the client's confidence in the process. Care in these areas will also help to ensure that the conclusion, when it comes, holds few surprises and that the tenant is broadly content with the outcome.

If the conclusion for the housing provider means the case has become a criminal matter handed on to the police for further investigation, the investigating officer might want to maintain a supporting role as a known and trusted contact.


•  Believe the victim until and unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.

•  Seek agreement with the victim to involve the police/other agencies.

•  Explain the options and discuss measures to support the victim and possible action against alleged perpetrators. Do not proceed against the victim's wishes. Some organisations make an exception here if they feel the safety of others is at stake e.g. through the risk of an arson attack.

•  Back discussion up with written support pack and an agreed action plan.

•  Stay in touch and check if there have been further incidents (this still applies if a victim is subsequently transferred).

•  Protect the confidentiality of victims (except where they have agreed that details should be passed to other agencies).

•  Keep records in a secure place along with any physical evidence such as photographs as they might be needed as evidence.

•  Ensure that records of the investigation are kept up to date e.g. dates and notes of meetings, agreed actions and date by which to be completed, progress noted against actions, detailed statements typed up etc.

•  Order repairs and agreed security measures to a strict deadline.

•  Ensure that effective liaison is established quickly and regularly maintained with named contacts within relevant partner agencies

Section 5. Sample Forms

Initial Report of Incident (Form: RH1)

(To be filled in by whoever receives the complaint)

Name of victim






Is the victim:   Victim



Is the victim a tenant:   Yes

If no, please provide details

Details of incident (time, date, place etc)

Details of alleged perpetrator(s) (age, gender, ethnicity)

Witnesses (names and addresses)

Any previous incidents

Any previous incidents reported

Other agencies involved

Police informed

Interpreter helpful

Preferred location for interview

Name of officer taking report

Signature of officer



  1. A copy of this form should be placed on a register of racial harassment reports kept in each housing management office.
  2. A copy should be put in the victim's/tenant's file.
  3. A copy should be forwarded to the investigating officer.
  4. A visit to investigate the complaint further must be arranged within 24 hours of the complaint having been received.

Report of Visit to Victim (Form: RH2)

To be filled in by the investigating officer at the first interview at home following an incident. It may also be used to record other incidents if they occur subsequently.

Name of tenant or person affected





Household Details

Number of adults and children - with ages of children

Date when incident occurred

Type of Incident: please tick appropriate box(es)

  Racist Graffiti in common areas

  Racist Graffiti on property where household lives

  Written abuse/threats

  Abusive telephone calls

  Verbal Abuse

  Damage to property

  Excessive noise

  Physical Assault

  Other (Please state) _______________________________________________

Details of Incident and the effect on household

e.g. health, education etc

Who else was present at the incident?

Give names and addresses, include any children

Details of Alleged perpetrator(s)

Where known, give names and addresses if the victim wishes to give this information

Have the police been informed?

If yes, give details including: police station and officer handling incident, and date reported

Does the tenant want the police to be informed? Yes/No

Support for the tenant

a) Does the tenant need any additional help? Yes/No

b) If yes, what help does the tenant need?

c) What action would the tenant like to be taken?

Details of other agencies involved: contact person/address

Advice Centre

Law Centre

Social Work



Community or voluntary organization

a) Is a transfer requested?

b) Is temporary re-housing requested?

Any other relevant information

Name of investigating officer

Signature of investigating officer

Date of interview


  1. This report will form the basis of subsequent interviews with the alleged
  2. perpetrator(s) and with witnesses. It is therefore important that as much detail as possible is recorded.
  3. A copy of this report should be kept on the victim/tenant's file.
  4. The victim should be told to report any further incidents promptly to the housing provider. Where further incidents occur, this detailed report can be used to record the details.
  5. A Schedule of Repairs (Form RH4) should be prepared by the investigating officer.
  6. The victim should be given a diary sheet (RH3) to record any further incidents which occur. This is particularly useful if the organisation decides to take action to obtain an interdict or seek eviction of tenants who perpetrate racial harassment.

Personal Record of Incidents (Form: RH3)

It is essential that you keep an accurate record of any further incidents of racial harassment. This is necessary as a basis for any possible legal action.
N.B. This form can be translated into other languages for those who speak a language other than English.






(Give details)



(Give details)

Record of Repairs Ordered (Form: RH4)

Address of Property:

Date repair requested

Nature of repair

Date completed

Cost of repair

Recharged to perpetrator?

Witness Report Form (Form: RH5)

Name of Witness


Date of incident witnessed

Details of incident
(Ensure that the report made here by the witness details the incident as they saw it. Include as much information as possible).

Would the witness be willing to go to court?

Does the witness require an interpreter?   Yes / No

Investigating Officer

Signature of investigating officer

Date of Interview


If the witness is a tenant, a copy should be put on their file

A copy should be kept on the victim's file

Alleged Perpetrator Interview Form (Form: RH6)






Details of Incident Reported

(This can be prepared beforehand for reference during the interview)

The Organisation's Policy

(This should be explained at this point)

The response

(Record the response to the particular action(s) which the person is alleged to have taken - try and record the conversation verbatim)

Interviewing Officer

Signature of Investigating Officer

Date of Interview


1. A copy of this report should be put in the tenant's file (If the alleged perpetrator is a tenant)

Follow-up Report form - RH7

This form can be used to check on progress of action decided for the victim or perpetrator.






Agreed action

By whom

By when


Reporting Officer

Signature of reporting officer



1 Action agreed should be followed through and this report ensures that each element of the programme of action can be checked and monitored

2 A copy of this form should be on the tenant's or perpetrator's file.

3 If action has not been completed by the housing organisation it will become evident at this stage and remedial action can be taken.

Section 6. Posters & Leaflets

Below are a small selection of example leaflets and posters used in other organisations. Please if you have any other materials to suggest.

(Click on the image or right-click and "Save As" to download the files to your computer).

A poster & accompanying leaflet used by a London council to raise awareness of how to deal with hate crime.
Glasgow City Council's corporate procedures for racial harassment
An example of a support pack for victims of racial harassment, developed by Bristol council, can also be downloaded here .
Some further information is available on Bristol City Council's website
An example of a support pack for victims of racial harassment, developed by Exeter Council, can be downloaded here .
Help us to improve practice – please display this poster for housing officers and frontline staff. Download from this page or contact us for printed copies.

To open PDF files , get the free Acrobat Reader here

Section 7a. Glossary

Alleged perpetrator - this document uses the term 'alleged perpetrator' to describe people alleged to have perpetrated harassment. Despite the adoption of a victim centred approach it is important not to prejudge a complaint by referring to a person as 'the perpetrator' until that fact has been established. Emotive or pejorative language such as 'the racist' should also be avoided. This term has been used because it is recognised and most easily understood.

Allocations Policy - the published rules which an RSL uses to let its houses.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) - behaviour which is contrary to that generally acceptable to society. This can include criminal acts as well as less serious behaviour such as general un-neighbourly behaviour.

Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO) - court order to protect the public from behaviour causing alarm or distress. Housing providers, in consultation with the police, can apply to the courts for an ASBO which contains conditions prohibiting a named person from doing anything specified in the order. This can include verbally abusing named persons or entering named areas.

Appraisal - process for evaluating how a member of staff has performed in relation to their work objectives, and for identifying training needs and new objectives. Many RSLs also use appraisals for management committee or board members.

Asylum seekers - are people who have applied for asylum under United Nations conventions as having a well founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, but whose cases have not yet been decided or are subject to legal appeal

Balanced Communities – attempts to make a disadvantaged community more like the wider population. For example, trying to attract to an area more people who are working, people in different age or ethnic groups, more home owners.

Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) - is the phrase that is most commonly used by community and equality organisations.  Black is not a descriptive term, in the same way that white is not. It is a positive political term signifying solidarity in a common fight against the daily realities of racism. Ethnic Minority is included within this term as some people prefer to be defined by their ethnicity rather than colour, and to include white people who have also experienced racial discrimination (i.e. Roma, Jewish or Irish). The use of Ethnic Minority within this term is also a recognition that while everyone belongs to an ethnic group, in Scotland Black people are in the minority and most likely to be the targets of discrimination and harassment. This terminology is subject to constant debate and review, with the Scottish Executive preferring to use 'Minority Ethnic' and some people preferring 'Visible Minority' – both of these terms have subtle differences of scope to ' Black and Minority Ethnic '.

Commission for Equality and Human Rights - an independent organisation set up to tackle all discrimination and promote equality. From 2007 it will represent all discrimination law, replacing the Equal Opportunities Commission, Disability Rights Commission and Commission for Racial Equality, and it will also incorporate religion/belief, sexual orientation and age discrimination.

Communities Scotland - a Scottish Executive Agency established in 2001. The Agency's role is to regenerate neighbourhoods, empower communities and to improve the effectiveness of investment. It registers and regulates RSLs in Scotland, and inspects local authorities.

Direct discrimination - direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another on racial grounds.

Diversity - (i) Diversity is a term used to describe the recognition that everyone is different and that the differences should be respected, recognised and valued. It means recognising people as they are, rather than expecting them to conform to a stereotype.

(ii) This is about the recognition and valuing of difference in its broadest sense. It is about creating a culture and practices that respect, value and harness difference for the benefit of the organisation and the individual.

Duty to promote race equality – covers specific and general duties. The g eneral duty is the duty on public authorities under section 71(1) of the Race Relations Act , to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination, and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between people from different racial groups .

Equality of opportunity - means making sure that everyone has the same chance to access a service or resource. Is not achieved by treating everyone the same.

Ethnic group - defined by the House of Lords as 'a group that regards itself or is regarded by others as a distinct community by virtue of certain characteristics that will help to distinguish the group from the surrounding community'. Ethnicity is self-defined.

Two of these characteristics are essential:

  1. a shared history, of which the group is conscious as distinguishing it from other groups; and
  2. a cultural tradition of its own.

Other relevant characteristics (one or more will commonly be found) are:

  1. a common geographical origin.
  2. a common language
  3. a common religion different from that of neighbouring groups or from the general community.
  4. being a minority or being an oppressed or a dominant group within a larger community. Although the House of Lords emphasised the need to interpret the word 'ethnic' relatively widely, in a broad, cultural and historic sense, it also observed that 'the word "ethnic" still retains a racial flavour'. On this basis, tribunals and courts have proceeded to rule that the English, Scots and Welsh, among others, are not racial groups by virtue of distinct 'ethnic origins'

Ethnic monitoring - a process for collecting, storing and analysing data about individuals' ethnic (or racial) background and linking this data and analysis with planning and implementing policies. 

Gypsy/Traveller (plural Gypsies/Travellers) – those groups of Travellers in Scotland who variously refer to themselves as Travellers, Scottish Travellers, Scottish Gypsy Travellers and Gypsy/Traveller people. This includes English Gypsies, Irish Travellers and European Roma. This term refers to all travelling communities who regard 'travelling' as an important aspect of their ethnic/cultural identity.

Hate Crime - 'hate crime' is applied when an incident amounts to a criminal offence and is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate against a particular social group. This covers crimes of harassment or violence committed against people because of their identity; including those motivated by racism, homophobia and against disabled people.

Harassment - Unwanted behaviour that has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity or creates a degrading, humiliating, hostile, intimidating or offensive environment for them.

Indirect discrimination - the application of a provision, criterion or practice that puts people of a particular race or ethnic or national origin at a particular disadvantage and cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. It includes attitudes and behaviour that could amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping. To find discrimination it will be sufficient to show that a practice is likely to affect the group in question adversely.

Institutional racism - A concept introduced by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and defined as 'the collective failure of an organisation to provide appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin'. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racial stereotyping which disadvantages people from ethnic minorities.

Integration - Integration is achieved when the following essential requirements of an integrated society are met:

• equality – where every member of society has an equal opportunity to access jobs and services without risk of discrimination;

• participation – where each individual can engage in making the decisions that directly affect them, and in shaping policies and services; and

• interaction – where different racial groups have positive contact with one another, building bridges across communities to develop mutual understanding.

Multiple identity - this is a term often used in the equality arena to indicate that as people we do not only have one, but a number of features. We have a gender, but we may also have a religion, or a political opinion, we have an ethnic identity, we may have a disability and we have a sexual orientation. We may wish to be regarded by one or more of these at different times and in different contexts.

Multi–agency service working in close cooperation with colleagues and partners from other agencies and the voluntary sector at all levels.

Multi-tenure service - extending beyond the landlord role and ensuring services are provided to all residents of the area.

New migrants - is a term increasingly being used to refer broadly to people who have come to live in Britain for various reasons; forced and voluntary. This includes economic (largely from new European Union countries) and social reasons (through family reunion) as well as those forced to seek refuge.

No-harassment tenancy clause – a clause included within a tenancy agreement explicitly prohibiting racial harassment of neighbours or any other person and specifying the consequences (upto and including eviction) that will follow any breach of that clause.

Nomination Agreement - a process of inviting other agencies to identify prospective tenants for vacant properties. It is common for RSLs to invite nominations from their local authority for a significant proportion of vacant units. Increasingly nominations agreements are being entered into with voluntary sector organisations such as Positive Action in Housing as a positive step to address housing inequality and create more balanced communities.

Performance Standards for Social Landlords - guidance developed by Communities Scotland, the SFHA and COSLA which sets the Standards for all social landlord and homelessness services in Scotland. Used as a framework for performance management by social landlords and for inspections by Communities Scotland.

Social Inclusion - the aim of assisting people to participate fully in society by removing barriers such as poverty.

Racist Crime – should be interpreted to mean any case reported to the Procurators Fiscal in which the Police have charged the accused with a statutory racial offence or aggravation.
Provisions set down two ways in which racial aggravation may be demonstrated. Firstly, the behaviour of the accused 'immediately before, during or immediately after carrying out the course of conduct or action' may imply 'malice or ill-will' towards the complainer which is based on that person's 'racial group'. (Crime and Disorder Act 1998)
Secondly, it is also possible to prove racial aggravation by direct evidence of a racial motivation, for example membership of a racist group or the displaying of racist insignia.
Generally, however, proof of racial aggravation is derived from the course of conduct or action since this is usually easier to prove. The use of certain language is particularly likely to be used as evidence of malice or ill-will, thus meeting the requirement of racial aggravation. Such language may be in common use among certain groups, typically abuse which includes pejorative terms describing the victim. (Scottish Executive Research 2002)

Racial Harassment - the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry defines a racist incident as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”. There are different forms of racial harassment and abuse; which may be criminal or non-criminal depending on the severity and individual details and context of the incident. A non-exhaustive list includes; physical attacks; threats of violence; racist graffiti; damage to property; nuisance incidents such as noise or door knocking; written or verbal abuse; offensive or dangerous material through a letterbox; behaviour such as wearing racist badges or insignia.

Racial groups - groups defined by race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origins. All racial groups are protected from unlawful racial discrimination under the Race Relations Act . Romany Communities, Jews and Sikhs have been explicitly recognised by the courts as constituting racial groups for the purposes of the RRA. A person may fall into more than one racial group and may be defined by 'race', 'colour', 'ethnic or national origins', and 'nationality'. The courts have held that a person's actual racial group may be irrelevant to the way they are treated, and that their racial group may be defined by a discriminator's perception of, or (incorrect) assumptions about, their ethnic or national origins.

Refugees - are people whose application for asylum has been accepted by the government. A person with refugee status will be granted leave to stay in Britain and have rights to housing, to work, and many of the other rights of full citizens

Registered Social Landlord (RSL) - a non profit making organisation with the primary purpose of providing affordable rented housing, and is inspected and regulated by Communities Scotland.

Tenancy Agreement - legal document or contract between landlord and tenant setting out the rights and responsibilities of each i.e. a Scottish Secure Tenancy.

Third Party Reporting – recommended by the Lawrence report, third party reporting encourages the reporting of hate crime by providing support for the victim through a partnership between (commonly) the police and relevant specialist agencies, trusted by the victim and her community, through which a victim can report racist harassment anonymously. Only with the victim's consent will police investigate the crime, without which police will record the crime and use this data to best deploy resources. This approach is increasingly being adopted by housing providers.

Victim - this document uses the term 'victim' to describe people experiencing harassment. This term is not perfect and may be inexact but is used because it is most recognised and easily understood. Some people feel that use of the term 'victim' creates a particular perception that undermines resistance and positive action against racism. It is important to be sensitive to this and to avoid the use of labels when dealing directly with people. The term 'complaint' or 'survivor' may be appropriate in different contexts, however it is hoped that 'victim' has most clarity in this instance, particularly in its use throughout terms as 'victim centred'.

Victim centred approach - taking the victim's perception as a starting point for any investigation and action

Zero tolerance – an approach where all criminal or unacceptable behaviour, even if commonly viewed as not being very serious, is punished severely. This is appropriate within racial harassment due to the acceptance that that what begins with verbal abuse often ends with violence. If follows from the experience that racist harassment is rarely an isolated incident and that victimisation is a process of accumulated negative experiences that affect day to day decisions, and exert a detrimental impact upon people's lives including social and economic isolation and hardship. Therefore a zero tolerance approach is required to reflect the position that there is no acceptable level of racial harassment.

Section 7b. Bibliography

Links to relevant websites and PDF Documents (right-click and "Save As" to download PDF documents, and view them with the free Acrobat Reader).

Bristol City Council - Taking Racial Equality Forward – the Bristol Approach

Commission for Racial Equality (CRE),
2006 - Statutory Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Housing Scotland 
2002 - The Duty to Promote Race Equality; a Guide for Public Authorities in Scotland (Non-statutory) 
2000 - Tackling Racial Harassment in Scotland: a Caseworker's Handbook

Communities Scotland, 2005 - Providing Information to Refugees: A good practice checklist 

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, 2002 - Lord Advocate's Guidelines to Chief Constables on Dealing with Investigating and Reporting Racist Crime 

Department for Communities and Local Government, 2006 - Tackling racial harassment: code of practice for social landlords

Glasgow City Council - Corporate Racial Harassment Procedures  

Home Office, 2006
Code of Practice on Reporting and Recording Racist Incidents 
The Victims' Charter - Standards of Service for Victims of Crime 

Joseph Rowntree Foundation
2003 - Supporting and Empowering Victims of Racist Harassment 
2000 - Action Being Taken to Tackle Racial Harassment  

Legislation; Office of Public sector Information

The Stationery Office, 1999 - The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny.

The Monitoring Group - Seeking Help and Advice with Racial Harassment

Positive Action In Housing, 1997 - Tackling Racial Attacks and Harassment: Model Procedures For Scottish Housing Providers 

Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2002 - Racist Crime and Victimisation in Scotland 

This toolkit will be continually updated to provide the latest best practice tips and training on offer.
See the latest version at www.challengeracism.com

Challenge Racism Toolkit is by Positive Action in Housing 2007

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