A handbook for victims of racial harassment

Section 1: What is racial harassment? 

A working definition of racial harassment could read as follows 

‘Racial harassment refers to harassment suffered by individuals, or groups, because of their colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origins. The harassment may be verbal or physical and can also include attacks on property’.

 The Macpherson Inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence recommended that the definition of a racist incident is

 ‘Any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’

This means that if you or another person tells a police officer or the housing officer that you perceive an incident to be racist then they must investigate and record the incident as a racist incident.

Racial harassment can therefore occur in a variety of forms. The following are some examples of racial harassment.

• Unprovoked assaults including common assault; actual bodily harm; and grievous bodily harm.

• Damage to property including breaking windows, doors and fences within the perimeter of the house concerned.

• The daubing of slogans and/or graffiti of a racial nature within or in the proximity of the perimeter of the house concerned.

• Arson or attempted arson.

• The insertion of rags, paper, rubbish and/or any material which can be and/or has been set alight through openings, or within the perimeter of the property concerned.

• The insertion of excrement, eggs, paint, faeces, rubbish and/or other noxious and/or offensive substances through an opening in the house concerned or within its perimeter.

• The sending of threatening and/or abusive correspondence of a racial nature.

• The making of threatening and/or abusive telephone calls of a racial nature.

• Verbal racial abuse.

• Demanding money accompanied by verbal racial abuse.

• Repeated vandalism of a property belonging to the person concerned or any member of his/her household.

• Threatening and abusive behaviour including spitting.

• Participation in any activity which is calculated to deter the person from occupying a particular property.

• Attempted murder or murder.