UEL and NewVIc join forces to tackle hate crime

PUBLISHED: 16:34 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:57 17 May 2017

UEL students held a workshop at NewVIc

UEL students held a workshop at NewVIc


When a crime takes place, why do some people run away, others reach for their camera phone while others intervene?

That was that questions posed by students from the University of East London (UEL) when they visited NewVIc sixth form college to talk about hate crime.

The ‘Step up to stop hate’ project kicked off on Wednesday May 10 when UEL lecturers and students talked both what the law says about hate speech and hate crime, and how people react to it in real-life situations.

“Before today’s workshop I would’ve been scared to do anything if I saw a hate crime happening,” said Agnes Thiongo, 19.“But now I have some useful knowledge about what to do and how to do it.

“People can be scared to intervene as there’s the fear that ‘I might have to get involved’ and be quizzed by the police. People want to protect themselves first.”

This was exactly the hot topic debated during ‘Step up to stop hate’, and research into ‘bystander behaviour’ shows that when an incident such as a crime or accident occurs, a person on their own is more likely to feel a sense of responsibility and intervene.

But if there is a group of people – for example on a busy train or in a shopping centre – people feel less personal responsibility as they think someone else will take action.

They are also more likely to copy group behaviour and turn a blind eye if everyone else is doing the same.

‘Step up to stop hate’ was instigated by NewVIc students themselves, who voted to run a hate crime project and invited the university to get involved.

Sally Holt, from UEL’s Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, who is leading the project, said: “It was great to see our UEL students deliver their first workshop, which they’ve designed and developed themselves, to a really receptive and engaged group at NewVic Sixth Form College,” said Sally.

“The students will also get practical support from our students and Citizens UK on how to take a campaign project forward using what they’ve learned.”

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