Reported by The Courier – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
Fife’s key workers have reported increasing racial abuse and vandalism since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.
Shopkeepers trying to enforce social distancing rules and carers visiting vulnerable people in their homes say they have been shouted and sworn at and had their cars damaged by members of the public.
Supermarket workers have also faced insults and aggression as they carry out their work.
Nina Munday from Fife Centre for Equalities (FCE) said that while many key workers had been subjected to abuse, people from ethnic minorities had faced particular problems.
She has now called on the public to stand up to hate to allow people to continue their vital work without fear of harm.
“People who have had to enforce social distancing, even in smaller shops, have been abused by people who don’t understand,” she said.
“It’s too easy to revert to being abusive and one shop decided to close because of it after they tried to limit numbers in the shop.
“Supermarket staff have had a lot of abuse as well when trying to enforce the rules.”
Ms Munday said care workers had also been victimised.
“We’ve had reports of health workers visiting people at their homes having their cars vandalised,” she said.
“People feared they were spreading germs so they decided to damage their cars.”
She said people should not tolerate hate, either online or in person.
“We thank our key workers for risking their lives so we can protect ours,” she said.
“Unfortunately, at FCE we are witnessing a rise in abuse towards certain key workers because of who they are.
“FCE have developed a simple system where people can report hate incidents.”
A poster urging anyone who experiences abuse to get in touch has been circulated throughout the region.
Incidents reported to FCE will be passed on to the police and Fife Council.
“Fife has a strong history of protecting vulnerable people,” Ms Munday said.
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