Delivering hate crime community projects

hate crime
The successes and challenges of delivering hate crime community projects.

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A summary of evaluations

Last week (16 March 2020) the Home Office published a summary of evaluations from the 15 projects in the first two waves of the Hate Crime Community Project Fund.The diverse activities delivered by projects aimed to tackle hate crime through four overarching goals:

• Prevention
• Awareness-raising
• Improving victim support
• Reporting hate crime

Different projects targeted four main audiences:

  1. The general public, including specific communities or groups,
  2. Victims,
  3. Practitioners, or
  4. Perpetrators (or potential perpetrators)

 

The report authors discuss each type of project in kind before identifying four main cross-cutting lessons from the project delivery of these Hate Crime initiatives:

  • Using local partnerships and experts
  • Engaging content
  • Delivering sensitive content
  • Using specific techniques
I expand on these four lessons below.

Using local partnerships and experts

Relationships with local partners who were either working with the target audience or who had a good understanding of local issues enabled projects to engage more effectively with participants, particularly those who may have additional vulnerabilities. For example:

  • Participants appeared more comfortable to be involved in projects and to disclose sensitive information.
  • Participants’ familiarity with individuals or organisations delivering the project could help break down barriers to engagement.
    • This was the case where participants had previous contact with individuals or organisations, or where they had a general awareness of the organisation but no direct contact.
    • Participants may feel more represented, that their needs are taken seriously, and that projects had an additional level of legitimacy in carrying out their work.

Engaging content

Engaging and empowering content was believed to be key to maintaining interest among participants and increasing the likelihood of projects achieving positive outcomes. This was particularly the case with young people and projects operating in schools.

  • Audience participation and open discussion were considered effective methods to engage audiences, as opposed to presentations where the audience was not able to participate.
  • It is important that content is accessible and delivered in a way that allows participants to actively reflect on and question, while considering the needs of the target audience.

Delivering sensitive content

Projects recognised that content of materials and discussions could be distressing for participants, but also that it could be critical in effective delivery. Projects outlined how to present this content ethically while ensuring the maximum benefit and influence on their target audiences:

  • Safe spaces were important to ensure participants’ full engagement.
    • Victims needed to feel they could articulate distressing experiences whereas perpetrators needed to be given the opportunity to explain their journeys and actions without judgement or consequence.
    • Members of the public wanted to know that they would be able to express their honest views in a receptive setting that promoted critical discussion

 

  • All participants needed to feel they had access to support, both during and following project participation.
    • This could often be effectively managed by an experienced facilitator; someone with the training, skills and confidence to manage difficult discussions and tensions between participants with opposing views, while directing the discussion in a constructive manner.

 

Specific techniques

Some projects highlighted specific techniques to challenge norms associated with hate crime and influence the thoughts and behaviours of different groups.

  • The use of storytelling and personal experiences allowed projects to share lived accounts of hate crime.
    • This may help participants to deal with their own experiences of hate crime.
    • It may also provide a level of clarity and transparency to what constitutes hate crime and how serious the consequences can be.

 

  • Online campaigns appeared to enable projects to access more people than initially expected, including those not directly involved or targeted.
    • This method can support an indirect raising of awareness and signposting while also increasing knowledge of the programme more widely.

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