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Arhag CEO Talks Hate Crime

Friday, January 27, 2017
The heavy emphasis of the two campaigns on the issue of immigration, which was cast in a largely negative light, has provided a green light for some to carry out appalling, racially motivated attacks.
Initial statistics from the Home Office backed this up, but it is something that we are increasingly hearing first hand ourselves.
It is also something, which David Isaac, chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, said is likely to spike again with the likely triggering of Article 50 to leave the EU in March.
As a provider of homes to 4,000 refugees and migrants in London, we at Arhag are acutely aware of the issue.
Hate crime is now a major concern for our tenants and something we as social landlords have to address.
We have just updated our website to provide a comprehensive guide on how to recognise and how to deal with hate crime.
It’s not just the crimes, but the fear of crimes. For a lot of immigrants, experiencing negativity is all too common. We want to say ‘you can come to us, we can give you support, we are on your side’.
The advice is not limited to our tenants and is available to anyone who is a victim. It’s a small part of our effort to become a ‘go to’ organisation for the refugee and migrant community in London, by increasing the range of services to the capital’s wider migrant and refugee community.
At Arhag we try to be more than a landlord to our tenants and keep in touch with their concerns on levels beyond the day-to-day housing matters, like repairs and rent.
We are aware of significantly higher number of concerns being raised about hate crime right across London.
This ranges from an increased occurrence of racial insults and negative remarks about ‘immigrants’ and ‘foreigners’ to more sinister acts of violence.
In the long-term, some tenants from the EU are wondering what their future holds in a post Brexit Britain, some are worried will they have to leave.
It is a theme which is echoed by other colleagues in our sector so we have decided to include the area on our website to offer tenants guidance on how to ensure it is properly dealt with.
In London 53% of all housing association tenants are first or second generation migrants. In some areas that figure is more than 70%.
We want to be sure that our tenants have a clear line to communicate these concerns either to us or to the police and that they are not suffering in silence.
Areas covered on the website include how to recognise and how to report hate crime and numbers to contact at Arhag to discuss issues.
There is also a link to report incidents to police either directly through the True Vision website or a self-reporting form which can be sent to a police station.
Other guidance includes important descriptive information to report to the police to help identify perpetrators.
We are currently working with other housing associations to get a broad commitment to make an extra effort to reach these people, which we hope to talk about very soon.
Immigrants are the most denigrated and discriminated group in our society and it is important this is recognised and that we raise our game to help them.
Only through coming together on all levels will we be able to defeat the menace of hate crime.