HomeDomesticFighting hate requires new strategies, B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner says

Fighting hate requires new strategies, B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner says

Hundreds of British Columbians who participated in a public survey said they never reported hate incidents they experienced during the pandemic.

The public survey was conducted by the B.C. Office of the Human Rights Commissioner.

“Clearly, new strategies are needed to deal with the experience of hate incidents,” B.C. Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender said.

“To address the rise of hate in our communities, people who experience hate need to feel that they have somewhere safe to turn to seek support, and we need mechanisms in place to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

“Without safe and credible responses and support, we risk sending the message that hate is okay in our society and allowing it to flourish.”

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More than 2,600 people participated in the survey, 930 of whom said they witnessed or experienced hate incidents during the pandemic.

From the 930 of those who witnessed or experienced hate incidents, 72 per cent did not report the hate incident they experienced or witnessed, while 68 per cent said they didn’t think a report would make a difference.

The survey also found that:

  • 38 per cent witnessed or experienced a hate incident for the first time after the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.
  • 39 per cent of hate incidents happened on social media.
  • 48 per cent happened at an outdoor public space.
  • 58 per cent of respondents felt that the rise in hate incidents was due to the perpetrators blaming certain groups for the pandemic.
  • 56 per cent felt that the increase in experiences of hate was due to a normalization of hate incidents online and elsewhere.

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How respondents described the perpetrator:

  • 73 per cent reported the perpetrator was a stranger, followed by a person in authority (19 per cent), or a professional (16 per cent).
  • 67 per cent said that perpetrators tended to be men and between 25 and 65.

The B.C. Office of the Human Rights Commissioner said it is reviewing all submissions received since the survey began in August, which include over 100 oral and written submissions from people representing more than 60 different organizations.

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The office will reveal its final report and recommendations in early 2023.

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