In 2013 the Commission released Reporting Racism: What you say matters. In partnership with the report’s reference group we committed to eight key actions to build the capacity of the Victorian community to respond to racism.
We have been working hard to implement the report's recommendations through these key initiatives:
- Aboriginal Identity Project – we committed to developing an online resource to educate and raise awareness around the diversity of Aboriginal identity and culture in Victoria.
- Third Party Reporting – we committed to developing a Third Party Reporting system in partnership with Victoria Police and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.
Reporting racism report
Racism takes many different forms, ranging from discriminatory treatment, property damage or offensive materials to abusive language and even violence. Racism reduces people to stereotypes and reinforces social prejudice and inequality – this behaviour can also be against the law.
Reporting racism: what you say matters, completes the first stage of a multi-tiered project to raise awareness of racism in the community and to build capacity for victims and bystanders to report racism and vilification when they experience it.
The report sets out eight key actions the Commission will undertake in partnership with other agencies to respond to the issues raised. These range from working with community groups to deliver targeted community information sessions about rights; supporting bystanders on public transport who observe instances of racist behaviour, and partnering with schools, youth groups, sporting organisations, local governments, employers and other agencies to promote and implement the Anti-Hate campaign messages (see below for more information about this campaign) into existing programs and curriculum.
About the project
The Reporting Racism project seeks to understand the type of experiences people have, and the extent and nature of material that people see, experience, hear, are sent or simply come across in their daily lives that is racist or vilifying. This might include flyers and stickers, graffiti, websites, blog material, verbal abuse or other treatment that people experience as racism or vilification because of their race or religion.
In 2012 the Commission ran an on-line survey. 227 people took part. As well as providing evidence of racism and vilification the survey helped us to identify actions and solutions that we can all take to help address racism and vilification.
In addition, we completed key informant interviews with peak and community organisations in Victoria to understand both the prevalence and severity of racist conduct within their communities.
The Commission also reviewed and collected incidents of racial and religious hate speech online and in the media, including in social media sites. The report of that research was released on 27 May 2013.
Through the Reporting racism: what you say matters survey we have heard directly from Victorians about their experiences of racism and vilification. With the report now released, the Commission will undertake eight key actions to respond to the issues raised. These actions are to:
- Collaborate with Victoria Police and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service to trial a third party reporting system, using the Commission's anti-hate website as the access point. Following this initial trial, we intend to extend the program to other communities.
- Extend the Commission's Anti-Hate campaign to include a phone app, in addition to the existing website.
- Work with key agencies, including Public Transport Victoria and transport providers to support bystanders using Anti-Hate as a vehicle for bystander action.
- Partner with schools, youth groups, sporting organisations, local governments, employers and other agencies to promote and implement the Anti-Hate campaign messages into existing programs and curriculum.
- Work with government agencies (such as VicHealth) to incorporate information on promoting bystander action into existing training packages.
- Develop an online resource to build a richer community understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal identity, culture and history in Victoria, and in so doing break down stereotypes and misinformation.
- Work with community groups to deliver targeted community information sessions about rights, available avenues for redress, where and to whom to report, the potential benefits of reporting and the possible outcomes.
- Use the evidence from the Commission's Healthy Workplaces project (funded by VicHealth) to develop new strategies to address discrimination in the workplace.
Project reference group
The Commission gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the project reference group.
The reference group is chaired by Commission Board Chair, John Searle, and includes:
- African Think Tank
- Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights
- Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria
- Federation of Indian Associations Victoria
- Islamic Council of Victoria
- Jewish Community Council of Victoria
- Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
- Victorian Multicultural Commission
- Victoria Police.
The terms of reference for the group include:
- assisting the Commission with the development of research methodology including third party reporting processes
- providing feedback on the draft report and recommendations
- considering the effectiveness of third party reporting.