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Are racial harassment, abuse and violence covered?

You are protected by the Race Relations Act if you have been abused or harassed on racial grounds in any of the situations covered by the amended Act. For example, you can bring a case against your employer if you experience racist abuse from other employees, or from customers or clients, and your employer does nothing to put a stop to it or to protect you from such abuse. You may be able to take a case against your landlord or landlady if you are racially harassed by them or by their employees.

In situations not covered by the Race Relations Act, you may be able to use other laws to get the harassment or abuse stopped. For example, if you are racially harassed by your neighbours, their visitors or others in the local community, you or your local council may be able to get a court order to stop the harassment. If the people who are harassing you live in a rented property, the landlord or landlady may be able to take action to evict them. Of course, you should also report all incidents to the police.

Racist attacks and violence are serious criminal offences and must be reported to the police. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 created new 'racially aggravated offences', such as harassment, assault, grievous bodily harm, and criminal damages, which carry significantly higher penalties. It is also a criminal offence under the Public Order Act 1986 to use threatening, abusive or insulting language or behaviour in order to stir up racial hatred. This includes distributing racist leaflets. All suspected criminal offences and any racist incident should be reported to the police.



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