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Monash University
General Education Studies
James Roffee

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 British’. 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 public order. 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 incidents.  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 stabbed.  Him and the friend were investigated for alleged gang membership.  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 statutory organisations.  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 investigated.  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 identity. 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 than individuals.  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 events. 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 incidents. 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 context.  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 youths.  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 left.  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.  Family.  Work and the economy.  Fear of crime and violent racism. The issue  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 Shopping Centre. 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 (1995). 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  Arrest: 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.
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