VANCOUVER: An overwhelming number of people who participated in a public survey for the Inquiry into hate in the pandemic say they never reported the hate incidents they experienced to anyone – not the police, a manager, human resources, school, or lawyer.
That is one of the key takeaways from the Inquiry, which has now finished the public participation phase. More than 2600 people participated in a public 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.
Of those72% of respondents did not report the hate incident they experienced or witnessed and 68% 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 Commissioner Kasari Govender.
“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. Without safe and credible responses and supports, we risk sending the message that hate is okay in our society and allowing it to flourish.”
The survey also found that38% witnessed or experienced a hate incident for the first time after the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. It mentioned 39% of hate incidents happened on social media.
Around 48% happened at an outdoor public space – for example a street, park or plaza.
The survey found 58% of respondents felt that the rise in hate incidents was due to the perpetrators blaming certain groups for the pandemic. Also 56% felt that the increase in experiences of hate was due to a normalization of hate incidents online and elsewhere How respondents described the perpetrators. 73% reported the perpetrator was a stranger, followed by a person in authority (19%), or a professional (16%)
B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner is reviewing all submissions received since the Inquiry began last August, including over 100 oral and written submissions from people representing more than 60 organizations.