– Is the TEESSIDE report on anti-Muslim prejudice based on the work of TELL MAMA?

The Teesside report independently analysed data on anti-Muslim prejudiced cases and incidents that TELL MAMA received, mainly between April 2012 and April 2013. We believed that an independent body like Teesside University had the relevant expertise and an independent oversight and analysis of the data was required. This ensures good practice, transparency in data recording and complete independence in the analysis and development of the report.

– Does the TEESSIDE report analyse on-line and off-line (street based or institutionally based) anti-Muslim prejudice?

It is important for any detailed report on hate incidents and crimes to look at these different areas. The Teesside report does this and also provides a detailed analysis, based on TELL MAMA data, of the role of the Far Right in the promotion of anti-Muslim prejudice on-line. This is the first time that this area has been analysed, making this a report, we believe, that will build the foundations for further work in this area.

– How was the data captured by TELL MAMA?

We can spend years looking at the variety and plethora of anti-Muslim prejudiced material that is available on-line, for example. However, since we are a third party reporting project, (not a Muslim organisation), we rely on members of the public reporting into us based on their perception of material being anti-Muslim or prejudiced in nature. This is related to the Macpherson recommendations on the reporting of hate crimes where it is the perception of the victim which ensures how the incident or crime is categorized. So, third party reporting projects all work on this basic fundamental element. However, given that we are trying to ensure good practice is followed in our project, we also check that there is some further corroboratory evidence that can match the perception of the victim. This may include statements made to the victim by the perpetrator that may have been anti-Muslim in nature, or e-mails or written material for example.

Data is collected and actioned by caseworkers in TELL MAMA. The victim is supported through emotional support, signposting, casework assistance, advice and through liaison with relevant law enforcement agencies. Victims have the option to remain anonymous or have their details provided to the police, though either way, details of the case are passed onto law enforcement so that community tension monitoring may take place. Victims should rest assured that their data is protected and not passed on beyond the relevant force and TELL MAMA, unless they want their data anonymized when passed to the Police. Anonymized data was also sent to Teesside University for the purposes of the report.

The TELL MAMA service is primarily here to support victims of anti-Muslim prejudice and to support them in their hour of need. This does not detract from the fact that anyone who suffers prejudice can report through True Vision. (We would urge anyone who has suffered prejudice to report through TELL MAMA, if anti-Muslim in nature, or through True Vision. Furthermore, if anyone suffers anti-Semitic hate incidents, you can report through the Community Security Trust).

All case-notes are registered in a database and the case-notes are checked and overseen by a Case Supervisor. This allows for feedback to be given to caseworkers and for informational gaps to be rectified if there are any. So checks and balances are built into the case-recording system which is tightly controlled.

As suggested, Teesside University have independently analysed the TELL MAMA data from April 2012 – April 2013. Victim names and details were removed when data was provided to Teesside University for the sole purpose of producing the report which is launched on Friday the 5th of July 2013. The anonymized data obviously does not include victim details. In essence, data checks, assessments and analyses have included multiple organisations so that best practice and the most accurate assessments could take place.

– What Next?

TELL MAMA will produce an annual publicly available report on their findings which will be published by an independent academic institution. This arms-length relationship ensures that an independent analysis of TELL MAMA data can take place.

– There is much talk about data, what about the victims?

This is the most troubling area for us, especially when recently a handful of social commentators have attempted to undermine work on anti-Muslim prejudice by focussing on ‘data’. It is always important to remember that this project is based on the foundations of helping those who suffer anti-Muslim prejudice. In all of the talk about ‘data’ we must not forget that there are real people, with real experiences and who have been targeted just because of their faith. In talk of numbers and figures, we must not forget this.