The TELL MAMA report which has been independently analysed and assessed by the Teesside Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies, is to be launched tomorrow. It will be available on the TELL MAMA and the Centre’s web-site for download and we thought it appropriate to list some key elements to give some context and background to the report.
Collection of Data
– As suggested previously in the FAQ section of our site we do not trawl for data. Individuals report in hate incidents and crimes and this means that our caseworkers will record information on the basis of the perception of the victim. This is the same procedure and basis of recording used by police forces and other agencies like the CST, (Community Security Trust). However, we also believe that it is essential to have some form of corroborating evidence such as a snapshot of targeted hate on-line which specifically mentions the Muslim identity of the victim, for the case to be classified as anti-Muslim in nature. Only then will the case be counted in the final statistics published annually. Without corroborating evidence, the incident will be recorded, fed into the Association of Chief Police Officer’s reporting web-site and will not form part of the final statistics in the annual report. Triangulation and corroboration of data is therefore key.
– Front-line caseworkers will work with victims on a case by case basis and will record material, pass it to police forces, support the emotional and practical needs of victims and make adequate referrals where appropriate. A Senior Caseworker will then check the cases by looking at the contents of the case, the data that is inputted to validate whether it is an anti-Muslim incident or not, the actions taken and outcomes of the case. At this second stage, changes can be and have been made and we have changed the classification of some cases and this oversight is key in building a robust set of checks and balances in the data capture process. Finally, the Director of the TELL MAMA project undertakes a weekly ‘ dip test’ of 30 cases that the caseworker will have dealt with to ensure that a tertiary check of the data collected takes place. If there is a discrepancy or error, the Senior Caseworker is directed to re-check all of the cases in the 2 weeks prior to this incident to ensure consistency and to re-check for any other errors.
On-line vs Offline and Feedback
– Our report breaks the data into the on-line and off-line world. Possibly, the ease of reporting on-line makes a majority of our cases clustered around on-line anti-Muslim hate. We are aware that there are some on the right of the political spectrum who do not believe that on-line hate and targeted prejudice is worth recording or reporting. They believe that only the most violent crimes are the ones to monitor and track and on-line targeted hate should not be included in hate crime monitoring work. Yet, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Ministry of Justice and other civil society actors all stipulate that people should have the right to report in targeted prejudice and this forms the basis for hate crime reporting work. This means that all hate crime third party reporting centres are based on the fact that on-line and off-line hate incidents can be reported in.
– The British Crime Survey of 2010/2011 states clearly the emotional and mental health impacts of hate crimes. Also, targeted cyber-hate campaigns lead victims to feel fear, anger, heightened anxiety levels and a sense of violation and vulnerability. Dismissing these impacts on the basis that there are no ‘physical scars,’ is not only far from how hate incident/crime reporting and recording takes place, it dismisses the views, feelings, sense of hopelessness and internal anger that builds up with some victims after an incident. Therefore on-line hate incidents do have very real impacts and also affect the sense of dignity and identity of the victim.
– We also acknowledge that we receive some cases where actual (and not threatened violence), has taken place against individuals. The impact on the victim does also include a heightened sense of fear and anxiety after the incident, anger, depression and a sense of despair, apart from the physical injuries. In the Teesside report to be launched tomorrow, (4/07/14), both on-line and off-line cases are listed separately and we may consider listing descriptive case studies in the future showing the types of cases we receive. Reviewing cases where actual physical violence has taken place and listing them as case studies will also help to show the actual impact that street based and real world cases have on victims.
Example of Incidents
– We have been asked about the types of on-line cases that we have included in the statistics which Teesside University have reviewed. Here are some examples with the specifics on the cases removed to ensure anonymity:
On-line Anti-Muslim Hate Incidents:
Case 1: The victim received a series of 7 tweets that were targeted at them. The tweets ranged from wishing death to the individual involved because they were Muslim, through to the posting of the address (the wrong address), on-line. The address posted, according to the perpetrator, was where the victim lived. This case was included in the statistical database passed on for independent analysis by Teesside University. Key factors for its inclusion in the database were based on (i) the victim reporting in (ii) the perception and corroborating evidence that the person was targeted because they were Muslim (iii) Consistent targeting of the individual and substantive evidence and material on the case. We also verified that there was a victim behind the incident.
Case 2: A mosque reported in threats to damage the mosque which had been reported to it by a member of the congregation who picked up the threats on-line. The individual had found postings from a Far Right splinter group which suggested that individuals call, harass and to damage the mosque in question. Given the context of the Far Right group involved and the targeting of the faith institution, this case was reported in and was included in the final statistical database passed on for independent analysis by Teesside University.
Street based incidents that have been included in the final database include threatening comments made against people where the language reflects abuse against the individual because of their Muslim faith identity. Other cases include (i) actual arson (ii) hate letters sent to mosques (iii) Hijab and Niqab pulling incidents (iv) spitting and assaults (v) extreme violent incidents, (though thankfully, these are in the very low numbers and end up with the police where they rightly belong.)