Fife Centre for Equalities are running a campaign to encourage people who live, work or study in Fife to report any form of discrimination or abuse they have experienced or witnessed so individuals feel respected, safe and have the freedom to live a fulfilling life where they live work or study . Don’t stand back and watch someone be hurt by others or put up with being bullied or harassed, TELL SOMEONE
Too often people do not report things that have happened to them when someone has made you feel scared, worried or vulnerable because of who you are.
We are encouraging people to report any form of abuse or discrimination to help stop incidents escalating that can have more serious and devastating consequences.
Why should I report discrimination or harassment?
- Discrimination and harassment are hurtful; they can also be confusing and frightening.
- By reporting them when they happen to you or someone you know, you may be able to prevent these incidents from happening to someone else or stop the discrimination or harassment from getting worse.
- You will also help the organisations who want to support you to understand the extent of problems you are experiencing so they can help you or people in your community.
- By reporting, you will be better supported.
Discrimination and harassment may affect an individual in every area of their life, work, school and home. People who experience such incidents may feel guilty, humiliated and too embarrassed to complain. Stress may lead to emotional symptoms such as a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem. The physical symptoms include loss of sleep, headaches. Further more serious physical and mental health problems may develop, not only for the victim, but also for the family.
Reporting makes a difference – to you, your friends, and your life.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination is when one person or a group of people being treated less fairly or less well than other people or groups. The groups can be age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race, religion & belief, sex, or sexual orientation.
What is harassment?
Harassment is a form of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Discrimination which is against the Equality Act is unlawful.
Harassment is unwanted behaviour which you find offensive or which makes you feel intimidated or humiliated. It can happen on its own or alongside other forms of discrimination.
Unwanted behaviour could be:
- spoken or written words or abuse
- offensive emails, tweets or comments on social networking sites
- images and graffiti
- physical gestures
- facial expressions
Examples of things you should report:
- threatening behaviour
- verbal abuse or insults including name-calling
- damage to property
- encouraging others to commit hate crimes
- online abuse on sites like Facebook or Twitter
If you’ve been treated badly, but it’s not unlawful discrimination there may be other things you can do.
Below is just one of the experiences that have been shared with us;
“This is My Real Life Story
My insecurities started at Primary School, when I was already seen as different.
At High School, I didn’t have the confidence to go up and speak to anybody.
I dreaded getting up in the morning and going in to school.
My day started on the school bus with name calling such as ‘stinking’ and ‘spastic’.
I had no friends and nobody to speak to. My hair and clothes didn’t fit in. I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up.
I dreaded going into the classrooms because I knew everyone was talking about me and called me ‘spastic’. I was spat on and my hair was pulled. I was punched and kicked. My legs were covered in bruises.
When I walked into the classroom, I had paper, chalk and the blackboard duster thrown at me. I couldn’t concentrate at school and was constantly looking over my shoulder. I sat at the back of the class.
Everybody told me I was no good, so I believed them.
I was too scared to tell anybody because the bullying would get worse.
I was segregated from everybody in the class because I couldn’t keep up.
I was put in a Special Needs Unit, which didn’t help.
At break times, I would try and keep myself to myself and go and sit in a corner – then the bullies would look for me and it would start again. I had school dinners but always sat on my own. My money was stolen.
At parents’ nights, my Mum was told I wasn’t paying attention in the class. Nobody asked how I was feeling. I was lonely and isolated for 5 years at High School.
I was scarred, physically and emotionally.
These feelings have followed me into my adult life.
I cannot stress how important it is to tell somebody you trust if you are being bullied. It won’t go away but will only get worse.
Nowadays there is so much support available. Do not be afraid to speak up.”
How to report?
In some cases victims and witnesses of discrimination or harassment do not feel comfortable reporting the matter directly to a public authority, and may be more comfortable reporting it to someone they are familiar with.
You can report it anonymously or get support from Fife Centre for Equalities to report what has happened to you or someone you know to the right people. We can help you get the support you need to help deal with what has happened to you or someone you know
Fife Centre for Equalities is a place where you can report for the Fife area, you can contact us at:
|Fife Centre for Equalities||New Volunteer House, 16 East Fergus Place, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1XT||Phone 01592 645310
However if you have experienced or witnessed a crime because of who you are you can report to Police Scotland:
- By Telephone 999 (emergency) 101 (non-emergency)
- In person at any Police station,
- By completing a Hate Crime Reporting Form
- At a Third Party Reporting Centre
If you are not sure about any of this, get in touch and we can provide advice and guidance or click here to read our leaflet on reporting discrimination and harassment.