Tackling Racist Incidents - A Toolkit for Scottish Housing Providers

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.



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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