Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment Herts (GATE Herts) have launched a new dedicated hate crime reporting website for Gypsies and Travellers and have vowed to make racism against their communities “unacceptable”.
The new website, called ‘Report Racism Gypsy Roma Traveller’, is in early stages and will be improved to contain reports and research on the hate crime that affects Gypsy, Pavee, Roma and Traveller communities.
GATE Herts are working in collaboration with Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity and Tell MAMA, the anti-Muslim hate crime charity, to further develop the site. GATE Herts’ ‘Report Racism’ also has support from the Independent Advisory Group for Hate Crime.
Sherrie Smith, Project Coordinator at GATE Herts, said that they would be producing reports and statistics to present as evidence of escalating hate crime towards Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.
“We have third party reporting status (to the True Vision government hate crime website) and will be working hard to encourage the reporting of all incidents of hate crime,” she said.
“GATE Herts will also continue with our workshops aimed at helping the community to identify and challenge racism.”
GATE Herts has had a Facebook page ‘Report Racism GRT’, that has been running since October 2015 and they say that the “momentum and reporting is growing” and that the new website is a natural development of this ongoing work.
Sherrie Smith appealed to people to share and encourage the use of the new ‘Report Racism Gypsy Roma Travellers’ website.
“We intend to include links to other organisations such as Galop for LGBTQ and Sunflowers Herts for Domestic abuse,” said Sherrie Smith.
“We really do want this to be a tool for all Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and look forward to working with you all in the future.”
Fiyaz Mughal OBE, founder of the influential Tell MAMA campaign organisation, said that he “valued” the new GATE Herts website because it meant that the Gypsy Roma and Traveller victims of hate crime would no longer “suffer in silence”.
"Report Racism GRT consists of committed members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the UK and we within Tell MAMA value the drive, determinism and the positive force for change that they are,” said Fiyaz Mughal.
“Hatred against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities continues to be a blight in some parts of our country and these communities suffer overt prejudice, as though their human rights are less than others. This is simply unacceptable and they suffer multiple forms of discrimination.”
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with these communities in their struggle against discrimination."
Yvonne MacNamara, CEO of The Traveller Movement, said that she “welcomed” the GATE Herts ‘Report Racism’ reporting website and that The Traveller Movement looked forward to supporting it as part of their own hate crime campaign in the run up to Hate Crime Awareness Week which will run from Saturday 8th to Saturday 15th October.
"The Traveller Movement has partnered up with a number of leading stakeholders and charities to develop a public awareness campaign called #OperationReportHate," said Yvonne MacNamara.
"The campaign hopes to raise awareness within the community about hate crimes and promote and share good practice and resources. The end goal is for hate crimes against the Gypsy, Traveller & Roma communities to be given the same public profile and recognition as other hate crimes."
"The campaign is officially launching on the 1st September, and posters will be available to download from the Traveller Movement and the new GATE Herts Report Racism website. We will be encouraging friends, family and colleagues to have their photos taken with the poster - even writing a message on it if they wish - and to share on social media."
Josie O’Driscoll, Founder and Chair of Gate Herts, said that their new ‘Report Racism Gypsy Roma Traveller’ website was a new weapon in the fight to make racism against Gypsies, Roma and Travellers “unacceptable”.
“After a year’s hard work and getting through the red tape, GATE Herts are delighted to launch their new website,” she said.
It is a safe secure - and anonymous if needed - place to report hate speech and racism.”
“It’s time to say enough is enough and report, sending out the message that racism is no longer acceptable in our communities.”
The GATE Herts website has been launched as a shocking report was released last week by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission that highlighted the racism against all ethnic minorities and warned of “increasing racial tensions”– including against Gypsies and Travellers.