Racial harassment strategy: policy and statement of intent
4.1. The Race Relations Act
The Race Relations Act 1976 deals with discrimination on racial grounds in several areas including employment and education. Part 3 of the Public Order Act 1986 also makes provisions specifically dealing with racial hatred. Under the Race Relations Act, the Council has a duty to make appropriate arrangements with a view to securing that its various functions are carried out with due regard to the need:
- to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination, and
- to promote equality of opportunity, and good relations, between persons of different racial groups.
4.2. Equal Opportunities
4.2.1. The Council’s policy on racial harassment evolves from and is complementary to its wider policies on Equal Opportunities. The Council has had an Equal Opportunities in Employment Policy in place since 1992. It has also addressed racial harassment in the workplace with the production of a Managers’ Guide on the prevention of racial and sexual harassment and procedures for dealing with complaints of harassment in January, 1995. The degree of success which the Council has in responding to discrimination against staff, will have a direct impact in fostering a culture which challenges discrimination among the public.
4.2.2. The Council’s Equal Opportunities Service Delivery Policy Statement is currently being updated. This sets out the Council’s Commitment and Statement of Intent and the philosophy on which the Policy is based. This strategy is complementary to the Policy and builds on it in relation to racial harassment.
4.3. The Pupils' Parliament
4.3.1. The importance of the problem of racial harassment and the impact it has on people’s lives has also been recognised by the Pupils' Parliament in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Participating schools in the Borough elect two representatives each to the Pupil’s Parliament every year. The Parliament makes resolutions on topics of importance to pupils for which a small amount of money is made available to be spent on progressing their aims.
4.3.2. In 1995 the winning resolution asked the Council to consider:
That the Council recognise that racism is a problem around the world and must be stopped.
That the Council support measures to stop racism in all the Borough schools.
In the production of this document and commitment to its achievement, the Council fully recognises and supports that resolution.
4.4. Statement of Intent
The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames acknowledges that we live in an unequal and often intolerant society in which many people face discrimination and harassment on racial grounds. This Council considers such discrimination and racial harassment to be totally unacceptable and has a firm commitment to do what it can within the limits of its authority, to eliminate them in all their forms, including taking firm action against perpetrators.
The Council will develop a victim - centred approach for dealing with discrimination and racial harassment by recognising that the safety of the victim and any dependent is paramount in assessing need. The Council also believes that the best solutions for victims are likely to be achieved by working in partnership with the voluntary sector, the health service and other statutory agencies to improve and co - ordinate services.
In the long term, the Council commits itself to a consistent approach to the problem by playing its part in informing and educating people throughout the community.
4.5. Policy Guidelines
The principles to be followed in developing services to combat racial harassment are as follows:
- To focus on the practical steps which can be taken to ensure that the needs of individuals are acknowledged and met.
- To ensure that actions evolve from and are complementary to the Council’s existing policies on Equal Opportunities.
- To consult with the voluntary and statutory organisations working in this area
- To reflect the Council’s core values in seeking equity, community participation and multi - agency collaboration.
- To cater for the needs of all those for whom the Council has a responsibility.