Racism still a problem in Wales, warns report
RACISM remains a significant issue in Wales, with many incidents going unreported, a new study out today has said.
The research commissioned by the Race Council Cymru suggests experiences of ethnic minorities show racism is not being challenged or tackled.
It is a view supported by the Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council, which said that while the number of racist incidents in wider society appeared to have fallen over the past 30 years, there remained a vociferous racist minority.
And the group is encouraging victim to make sure they report incidents.
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The council's chief executive Taha Idris said: "There has been a change over the years, in that there is a smaller amount of incidents, but those which are recorded are more serious.
"A lot of incidents are what could be called low level, such as verbal abuse, and what I have found is that people do not tend to complain. Fortunately, there are not too many serious offences, although we do have some.
"What would encourage people to make complaints of incidents? We have been working with police to tackle the problem, and they have been very good.
"But if people don't want to go to the police, then they can come to agencies like us.
"The number of instances have come down, which means people are probably not reporting them, because at a ground level we know they do happen, be it abuse from a passing car, or an assault or a threat.
"People should be reporting every incident."
The Race Council Cymru research acknowledges that many incidents go unreported, and also suggests the economic climate is adding new pressures, with evidence that discrimination is increasing as the labour market shrinks, and public sector cuts start to bite.
The study examined race equality in key issues including housing, education and employment. In housing, evidence was uncovered of racist perceptions in the allocation of accommodation, and for travellers and gypsies, a shortage of authorised traveller sites was said to be continuing to present problems.
In education, many respondents reported good awareness of multiculturalism but there were many accounts of children being bullied and called names at school.
Professor Heaven Crawley, director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University, said: "Whilst race relations in Wales have improved over the past fifty years, significant challenges remain."
She added: "Reporting of racist incidents and hate crime to police continues to be a major problem.
"Some front-line police officers reinforce this pattern by encouraging people to 'keep their head down'."