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Most B.C. victims of hate during pandemic did not report to authorities: survey

August 11, 2022

By Vancouver Sun |

A concerning number of B.C. residents who experienced hate or violence during COVID-19 didn’t report the incident to the authorities, says the province’s human rights commissioner.

Kasari Govender, who has been conducting a massive inquiry into incidents of hate over the past two years, says 72 per cent of those who participated didn’t report the crime to the police, a manager, human resources, school or a lawyer.

B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, which has now finished the public participation phase of the inquiry, will release a final report with recommendations in early 2023.

More than 2,600 people participated in the survey. After reviewing all responses, 930 surveys were determined to be from people who witnessed, experienced or were affected by hate incidents during the pandemic, according to Govender.

Of those, 68 per cent said they didn’t think a report would make a difference.

“Clearly, new strategies are needed to deal with the experience of hate incidents,” said Govender in a statement Wednesday. “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.”

Govender added that without safe and credible responses and supports, there is a risk of sending the message that hate is OK in society.

Other findings of the survey include that 38 per cent experienced a hate incident for the first time, 39 per cent of hate incidents happened on social media and 48 per cent took place at an outdoor public space.

More than half of respondents (58 per cent) believe the rise in hate incidents is because of people blaming certain groups for the pandemic. A similar number (56 per cent) blame the increase in hate on a normalization of the behaviour online.

Seventy-three per cent reported the perpetrator was a stranger, followed by 19 per cent who said the perpetrator was a person in authority and 16 per cent who said the person was a professional.

Most respondents (75 per cent) reported that perpetrators were white, and 67 per cent said they were men.

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