Blurring the distinction between offender and victim: A&TS Islander people
Race, ethnicity, risk and victimisation
Vulnerability to and risk and fear of crime are exacerbated by social,
economic and political exclusion, and the risk of personal victimisation is
closely correlated with variables such as:
o Race – social relationship in which structural positions and social
actions are ordered, justified and explained by reference to systems and
symbols of beliefs which emphasise the social and cultural relevance
of biologically rooted characteristics.
o Ethnicity – attachment to a cultural group by birth.
Defining and recording violent racism
Black and minority ethnic:
o Refers to a person or group whose self-defined ethnicity is not ‘White
o Higher risk of victimisation than white people.
o Likely to experience repeat and multiple victimisation, perceive
themselves as more at risk of victimisation, and are most likely to
report being fearful of racially motivated crime.
o High rates of secondary victimisation e.g. discrimination.
o Violent racism – form of racism.
o Often unlikely to report their experiences to the police.
Since 1988, 43 police forces in England and Wales have recorded racist
incidents separately from non-racist incidents.
o Racist incident – any incident in which it appears to the
reporting/investigating officer that involves an element of racial
motivation; or any incident which includes an allegation of racial
motivation made by any person.
Number of incidents reported increased from 1997/98 – 2004/05.
1998 – racially aggravated offences introduced.
o Cover racially aggravated assault, criminal damage, harassment and
o An offence is racially aggravated if:
At the time of committing the offence or immediately before or
after, the offender demonstrates towards the victim hostility
based on the victim’s membership of a racial group.
The offence is motivated by hostility towards members of a
racial group based on their membership of that group.
Membership in relation to a racial group includes association
with members of that group.
Racially motivated incidents:
o Incidents involving a racist element.
o Risk is higher from BME groups than white people.
Institutional racism – the collective failure of an organisation to provide an
appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture,
or ethnic origin.
Political and policy responses to violent racism Officially acknowledged by central government and the statutory agencies as a
problem in need of a strategic and operational response (1981).
o Home Office Report published – survey and analysis of inter-racial
Signalled a formal change in official attitudes.
The police response:
o Changes were introduced following the Home Office Report.
o Metropolitan Police Service introduced recording and monitoring
procedures, and identified racist incidents as force priorities and the
subject of several orders.
o 1997 – survey of all police forces for the Home Office.
Identified a large degree of variation in what was recorded and
counted as racially motivated crime.
Evidence of the failure of the police response was confirmed
when the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report concluded that the
investigation was marred by a combination of professional
incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership
by senior officers.
Other statutory responses, multi-agency working and victim support:
o Policies introduced to tackle racially motivated offending.
o Crime prevention measures were promoted as having the potential to
tackle racist victimisation.
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry:
o Report of his murder and the police investigation.
22 April 1993 (18 years old) in London while walking home
with a friend.
Approached by 6 white youths at a bus stop and he was
Him and the friend were investigated for alleged gang
1997 – inquest jury said that he was unlawfully killed in a
completely unprovoked racist attack and the police
investigation was deemed to be fundamentally flawed.
o Significance of the report. It:
Confirmed the insidious and horrendous impact violent racism
has on BME communities in England and Wales.
Defined racist incidents and recommended the use of this
definition across all police, local government and voluntary and
community groups and organisations.
Acknowledged the systematic nature of institutional racism
within police organisation, and by association, CJ and other
Highlighted the inadequate and incompetent nature of the
police response to violent racism and the need for more direct
and effective measures to be implemented.
Pointed towards the need for a more informed and strategic
government response to violent racism.
o Highlighted the need for greater cooperation between agencies
especially in the gathering and sharing of information: All racist incidents should be reported, recorded and
Police services should cooperate closely with local agencies
and local communities to encourage reporting.
Local education authorities, schools, housing authorities and
other agencies should record racist incidents.
The post-Macpherson landscape:
o About Stephen Lawrence from a judge’s perspective.
o 1976 Race Relations Act amended in 2000 to meet one of the key
recommendations from the Lawrence Inquiry report that placed a duty
on public authorities to actively promote race equality and to avoid
race discrimination before it occurs.
o 2003 – further amended to include discrimination and harassment on
the grounds of race or ethnic origins.
Violent racism as a social process
Home Office Racial Attacks report and MacPherson report do not adequately
explain why violent racism occurs and thus do not identify the most
appropriate and effective mechanisms for tackling it.
The situated nature of violent racism:
o Research suggests that violent racism is related to wider and deeply
embedded racist ideologies.
o Perpetrators of violent racism are acting out a particular form of white
o Causal links between the racist actions of individual perpetrators and
institutionalised racist practices of the state.
o Violent racism should be seen as a crime against communities rather
The cumulative nature of violent racism:
o Social process – presents violent racism not as static, fixed and
discrete, but as an ongoing, dynamic and fluid set of interconnecting
o Home Office and MacPherson fail to acknowledge the role it plays in
the everyday lives of many BME groups.
Violent racism cannot be reduced to incidents as they do not
occur in a moment, but are an ongoing dynamic embedded in
time, space and place.
Involve a number of social events, each of which is bound up
with the others.
Violent racism is a cumulative social process which the police
and other CJ agencies respond to by dealing with ‘it’ as discrete
Researching violent racism
Survey research has difficulty in capturing repeat victimisation.
o Descriptive rather than dynamic.
o Only focuses on the victim in the crime process.
o Indicate little about alternative responses to victimisation e.g. self
defence and retaliation – focus on the process after the reports have
been made to an agency. o Most aren’t presented in their social, geographical and historical
Racist offenders and perpetrators:
o Typology of perpetrators:
Pensioners – racist to those they do not know.
People next door – racist against those who they deem to have
an unfair advantage.
Problem family – racist towards ethnic minority neighbours.
15-18 year olds – racist because it’s fun and accepted by older
11-14 year olds – bully other children with ethnic minority
origin include racist abuse.
4-10 year olds – perceive it as normal to hold racist views and
voice them without fear of contradiction.
o Three levels of violent racists:
Normal racists – least involved – not directed at ethnic minority
individuals, but differentiated normal and routine abuse.
Aggressive racists – young men 14-15 years who were
involved during school and continued to be hostile after they
Violent racists – aged 12-13 – majority from socially
disadvantaged and feared housing estate – racism shown when
they were in proximity to Asians or Asian areas.
o Themes that can help explain different individual and group
expressions of racism and violent racism:
The continuum of criminality, violence and violent racism.
The continuum of normal, aggressive and violent racists.
The influence of locality.
Processes of inclusion and exclusion.
Work and the economy.
Fear of crime and violent racism.
A&TSI both victims and offenders.
Jonathan Brown case, 2002.
o Police intervened at the request of bystander.
o Asked to move on because he was just standing there.
o Ran from police and jumped of escalator and died in Westfield
o Hadn’t done anything wrong but was doing abnormal things that
causes police to be called.
o Ran away even though he did nothing wrong.
CJS can be seen to have racist elements.
Over 14% of Australia’s prison population are of Indigenous origin.
Nationally, A&TSI are in prison at 13x the rate of non-Aboriginal people
How this has happened Lack of enfranchisement – the treatment of white superiority has left a
situation that has been compounded by government neglect.
Governmental neglect – lack of care/interest or not wanting to say they’re
doing the wrong thing. Leads to a misrepresentation.
Collective trauma – need to think of past situations through history to where
A&TSI people will be treated somehow as worthy of being singled out by
state officials whenever they interact with the state.
Over-representation in the CJS
o 31% of Indigenous males and 9.4% of Indigenous females aged over
13 have been arrested between 1989-1994.
o The majority of offences related to intoxication.