Travelling Ahead : A Welsh project working with young people from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

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Have we actually improved tackling racism? Welsh Assembly debate on hate crime asks young person’s question

Have we actually improved tackling racism? Welsh Assembly debate on hate crime asks young person’s question

12-10-2016

This week is Hate Crime Awareness Week around the UK. The National Assembly for Wales held a special debate on Tuesday 11th October to discuss progress in Wales’ Tackling Hate Crime Action Plan; Julie Morgan Assembly Member for Cardiff North spoke out about the experience of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, mentioning Travelling Ahead and ended with a quote from 16 year old Tyrone Price from Pembrokeshire (pictured) who is a member of Travelling Ahead’s Youth Advisory Group.

Julie Morgan said:

I’d like to just finally, really, end with the thoughts of one of the young people from the Travelling Ahead group, Tyrone Price. He put forward a question that I think is very thought provoking, and I think it’s a very valid question: have we actually improved tackling racism, or are people just pretending to accept this concept of equality? I think this is obviously what a young person feels very strongly, that a lot of the progress we have made towards equality, some of it is perhaps token, and we have to really make race equality an absolute reality, particularly for the young people who are suffering from prejudice and hate crime.

WATCH HERE – Julie Morgan starts talking at 22:58 minutes in to the video clip

You can find out more about Travelling Ahead’s Tackling Hate Crime project here and read more from Welsh Government on the Hate Crime Awareness Week here

Full text from Julie Morgan

I’m very pleased to take part in this debate, especially during this awareness week, and I thank the Cabinet Secretary for updating us on the progress that has been made and his acknowledgement that there is still a long way to go. Although progress has been made, hate crime is still a daily reality for many people in Wales, ruining people’s lives and people living in dread of being the victims of hate crimes. It is an appalling reflection of the society we live in, and it does cover so many areas. Today, I wanted to particularly concentrate on the treatment of members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community, who are very frequently the target of hate crimes and discrimination here in Wales. This targeting of this community is nothing new; it has gone on for many, many years.

During Hate Crime Awareness Week, I know that a group of young people from the community in south-east Wales will be meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent to talk about tackling bullying and hate crime directed at the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community. I think that is very welcome, so that the issues can be considered by the commissioner, because, sadly, the community suffers from discrimination and there is a need to tackle negative attitudes towards this community. Young people from the Gypsy and Traveller community who were involved in the Travelling Ahead project feel very strongly that there is still a need to train teachers, police officers and other professionals, because there is still discrimination and hate crimes being targeted at them, and they have collated and created a number of resources to combat this. For example, they’ve made some short films, written poems and presentations, which will be made available when training teachers, police, councillors and other young people.

And that leads me on to another point, which is that when hate crimes are reported, it still seems that there is a problem with how those crimes are dealt with and how they are recorded. The all-Wales hate crime research project collated the number of hate crimes that had been recorded in England and Wales in 2011-12, and the vast majority of those, 82 per cent, were race hate crimes, but only 45 per cent of those who were victims of hate crime felt that the police took the matter as seriously as they should have done, and this chimes with the experiences of Gypsies and Travellers involved in the Travelling Ahead project. They feel that the police still don’t listen to them. I know that there is training going on with the police, but the perception of the young people is that they are not being listened to.

I think there’s also an issue about the way that police forces collect statistics about hate crime and that the ethnic status data are quite difficult to break down. So, it is actually quite difficult to get an analysis of the number of hate crimes that are specifically directed against Gypsies and Travellers, because they are subsumed in the overall ethnic crime figures. I think that would be a great improvement if we could actually break down the figures, because, in particular with Gypsies and Travellers, we need to know what those figures are and how great this suffering is.

I’d like to just finally, really, end with the thoughts of one of the young people from the Travelling Ahead group, Tyrone Price. He put forward a question that I think is very thought provoking, and I think it’s a very valid question: have we actually improved tackling racism, or are people just pretending to accept this concept of equality? I think this is obviously what a young person feels very strongly, that a lot of the progress we have made towards equality, some of it is perhaps token, and we have to really make race equality an absolute reality, particularly for the young people who are suffering from prejudice and hate crime. As I say, my remarks are really about the Gypsy and Traveller community today.

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