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Challenging Racism &
Promoting Racial Equality

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Useful Information

What is Racial Discrimination?

The Race Relations Act is concerned with people’s actions and the effects of their actions, not their opinions or beliefs. Racial discrimination is not the same as racial prejudice and it is not necessary to prove that the other person intended to discriminate against you: it is sufficient only to show that the outcome of their action was that you received less favourable treatment on racial grounds (reasons of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins).

Racial Discrimination can be encountered at work, when buying goods or using services, when buying or renting property, at school or college or when dealing with authorities such as the police or health service.

What is direct racial discrimination?

This is treating one person less favourably than another on racial grounds (see above definition).

What is indirect racial discrimination?

This occurs when you or people from your racial group are less likely to be able to comply with a requirement or condition, and the requirement cannot be justified on non-racial grounds. A ‘racial group’ is a group of people defined by their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins.

What is racial harassment?

This is also unlawful under the Race Relations Act. A person harasses someone else on racial grounds if his or her behavior is unwanted and it has the effect, intentionally or not of violating that person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.

Racial Harassment can be encountered at work, once you have left work and require a reference, when renting or buying a property, at school or college, or when buying or using goods and services.

What is victimisation on racial grounds?

This is when you are punished or treated unfairly because you have complained about racial discrimination, or are thought to have done so, or have supported someone else who has.

What should I do if I have suffered racial discrimination or racial harassment?

If you have been a victim of racial discrimination or harassment you must first consider what you want to be done. Do you want your job back, an apology, compensation, evidence that the organisation will not discriminate again?

You must start by attempting to sort the matter out with the organisation or individual who has discriminated against or harassed you. This means writing a statement to your employer or using your organisation’s grievance procedure if you have been discriminated or harassed at work, or writing a complaint and following the complaints procedure if your complaint is with a service provider.

If this does not help, you may be able to take your case to county court or tribunal, however there are strict time limits for taking your complaints to these stages.

For more information visit the following websites: or

What is a racial crime or racial incident?

The definition of a 'racist incident' now adopted by all police forces is 'any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person'. It is now police policy to treat even 'minor' incidents seriously, not just physical assaults, because of the particular fear that a racist motive can cause, and the possibility of escalation if such incidents are unchecked.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 created new criminal offences in relation to race, such as racially aggravated criminal damage, assault and public order offences. The Public Order Act 1986 also makes it illegal to incite racial hatred, whether through the language used or through actions, such as distributing racist leaflets. Penalties are severe for anyone convicted of a racially motivated crime.

What should I do if I have suffered a racial incident or crime?

Racist attacks and violence are very serious criminal offences and you should consider reporting what has happened to you to the police. There is no reason why you should ever have to put up with attacks because of who you are, and the police have the powers under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to help you.

Going to the police can take a lot of courage, and if you are worried, you could confide in a friend, or call a support organisation such as Victim Support, the Samaritans or a local community group.

If you do not want to approach the police, you may get help from a third party reporting centre in your area.

How can EREC help me?

EREC can provide initial advice and information and general help in regard to what action you can take and how to complain if you are a victim of any form of racism. We will signpost you to local and where appropriate, regional agencies who may be able to help you further.

EREC does not provide representational support at tribunals, courts or hearings. Where this support is required, or specialist legal help, we will signpost you to other organisations or legal agencies that may be able to assist you further. Contact Us



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Community Mentorship Project

EREC has received funding for a small project up to March 2012 from Enfield Council to support and mentor BME Women’s organisations.  The purpose of the funding is to build the capacity of selected organisations so that they can increase the support they currently provide to their members and service users who are seeking work...
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Strategic Race and Equalities Forum

The Strategic Race and Equalities Forum meets every 3 to 4 months to discuss and make recommendations on key issues relating to race and local Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities...
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