Underreporting of racism in Ireland
If you have experienced, witnessed or heard about a racist incident it can be confusing what to do next, where to report it, what steps to take and what, if anything, can be done to address what happened. Data collected through iReport.ie suggests that, for a variety of reasons, 5 out of 6 people would not report to Gardaí or official bodies at all and most of racist incidents in Ireland go unreported and, as a result, remain invisible.
A reluctance to report racism may arise from an affected person’s previous negative experience with the police or other official bodies in Ireland or their country of origin and/or perceived fear of jeopardising residency application or status. Barriers to recording racism may also include a fear of exposing oneself to further victimisation by sharing identifying details; a hesitation to engage in a lengthy legal or other process(es); a reluctance to use forms that use complicated technical language and other off-putting vocabulary and a reluctance to use a reporting system that is lengthy and unwieldy.
These barriers mean that people from minority communities experience racism which goes unrecorded, unacknowledged and not addresses by the state and wider society.
Why should you report racism?
We can’t stress enough how important reposting racism is, not only for the affected people but also for their respective communities and the society as a whole. Reporting racist crimes and discrimination goes a long way to support work across Ireland by INAR and its Members to achieve better services for victims of crime and discrimination, better protection for those likely to be targeted and hold statutory agencies and government accountable for failures in this area. Reporting takes time and can bring up distressing feelings and memories. It can, however, also bring some relief to report and to tell someone what has happened. But the most important thing about reporting is that it brings benefits to other people potentially targeted by racism, gives them a voice, and makes Irish society more equal and inclusive.
If you make a report, your report will help ensure that what happened is less likely to happen again.
We strongly encourage reporting all racist incidents to the police and relevant state bodies to get redress and keep the record of racism in Ireland. However, If for whatever reason you are reluctant or afraid to go this route, you can report racist incidents anonymously to iReport.ie to make sure there is a record to what you experienced or witnessed.
You should report racism to:
- Receive support, information and advice on how to seek redress for racism.
- Racist incidents and crimes that are not reported cannot be addressed.
- Act against the people or institutions responsible.
- Ensure that what happened is less likely to happen again.
- Understand how often racist incidents occur and who is experiencing racism in Ireland.
- Monitor racism and make relevant authorities aware of its nature, scale and manifestations.
- Help devise effective local strategies for combating racism.
- Inform our arguments for stronger anti-racist policies at national level
- Create public awareness of the types of racism that exists in Ireland.
- Promote equality and send out the message that racism is not acceptable in Ireland.
- Racism is a denial of basic human rights.
- Racism is prohibited by Irish equality legislation and international law.
HOW TO REPORT RACISM: USEFUL TIPS
When you decide to report racism and to seek redress there are some general matters you should keep in mind. The below list can help you to answer some important questions, prepare for the reporting process and consider your options.
Describe the incident in detail
If you think the incident had a racist motive, say it
Seek evidence and witnesses to the incident
Identify the form of racism that has taken place
Identify the appropriate body to seek advice and redress
Find out what the complaint procedure is
Identify other agencies that might help you
Make an appeal
Report the incident to iReport.ie
We encourage you to report all racist incidents to the iReport.ie online racist incident reporting system. This helps us to keep a record of incidents of racism in Ireland, to monitor its extent and different forms, and to find solutions on local, national and international levels. Remember that unreported racism stays invisible and cannot be addressed.