Before the lockdown started, the UEA, as a University of Sanctuary, reported a rise in the number of xenophobic incidents on campus. They were quick to denounce such acts as unacceptable and gave a clear route for students to report any further incidents to them.
Since then, Norfolk Community Law Service have come forward to work with the UEA and offer free legal advice for anyone who has experienced discrimination.
Jane Basham, their Chief Executive Officer, explains their role and how hard it can be for people to come forward.
We know from our work that discrimination is a blight on our society. Unchecked it destroys people’s lives.
The Equality Act protects people from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The Act covers people based on ‘protected characteristics’ These are age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.
People are protected from discrimination in employment and in access to goods and services. The Equality and Human Rights Commission have some good resources on their website.
Maybe not all of us can understand how hard it is for people to come forward. Just as it is estimated that around 80% of all hate crimes go unreported the same is likely to be true of discrimination. Fear of reprisal, of not being believed, feeling oppressed, depressed, worn down , along with arduous complaints and grievance processes are just some of the reasons people stay silent.
Norfolk Community Law Service provides free specialist legal advice services in discrimination and in employment. Discrimination casework (provided for us by our expert colleagues at Suffolk Law Centre) is usually legally very complicated. In many cases the discrimination is subtle- but not always. This service is continuing via telephone/Skype/Zoom during the current Coronavirus pandemic.
We’d encourage you to make contact with us if you are experiencing discrimination, or if you know of someone who is. We work with some of those made most vulnerable by society and will do our utmost to ensure barriers to access to our services are removed. This includes experience in working with interpreters and signers. You can find out more on our website.
Email: [email protected] Telephone : 01603 496623 Mobile/Whats App 07900 153753
If you are representing an organisation then you can refer people remotely, securely and quickly using the Norfolk Community Advice Network referral system. If you want to find out more about this please contact Emily Balsdon on [email protected]
There is a clear link between discrimination and a Hate Crime. Norfolk Police have an excellent protocol on their website, explaining their role and responsibilities and how to report a Hate Crime.