Prof. Peter Radoll, Shankar Kasynathan, Hon. Andrew Giles MP, Emiliano Zucchi, Lisa Thorpe and Dr. Mario Peucker.
(L-R) Prof. Peter Radoll, Shankar Kasynathan, Hon. Andrew Giles MP, Emiliano Zucchi, Lisa Thorpe and Dr. Mario Peucker.

A Victoria University report offering practical guidance at the local government level for residents experiencing racism was launched today by the  Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. Andrew Giles, MP.

The report presents findings and a recommendations’ ‘roadmap’ based on community surveys, focus groups, and extensive community engagement with First Nations, multicultural, and multifaith communities based on the City of Whittlesea in northeast Melbourne, one of Victoria’s most diverse areas.

Findings

  • nearly 60% of respondents or their families reported experiencing racism in the previous 12 months, especially among women and young people
  • about half of those experiencing racism faced it in public places or at work
  • more than 80% did not formally report the incident, often because they believed nothing would change or they didn’t know where to report
  • the vast majority of those who did report said their motivation was to help raise awareness
  • other reasons for reporting were to get psychological support, ensure the incident was recorded, or  seek legal assistance
  • most respondents believed support services needed to be more culturally senstitive and better known,  and more strongly advocate for those who report racism.

The report recommends establishing a community-led anti-racism network tailored to needs of the Whittlesea community that would create more safe spaces for residents to speak out againt racism, raise awareness, and promote culturally-appropriate and locally-accessible reporting pathways and support services.

These local support services could also assist with referrals to specialised agencies such as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

It recommended the network be coordinated by a trusted community organisation such as research partner Whittlesea Community Connections, a not-for-profit organisation of volunteers and members that have worked with the Whittlesea community for 50 years.

Second LGA to get 'roadmap'

This is the second local government area where VU researchers – Dr Mario Peucker, Professor Tom Clark, and Ms Holly Claridge – have developed a locally-specific anti-racism roadmap.

In an Australian-first project with the City of Wyndham, they launched a Wyndham Anti-Racism Roadmap in 2021.

The researchers have also worked with the national network, Welcoming Cities, to develop a practical guide  to encourage and assist other Australian local government areas to implement similar programs in their areas.

Read the report here: Speaking Out Against Racism: an Anti-Racism Roadmap for Whittlesea.