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Researching Hate Crime: Methodological Challenges with Investigating Hard-to-Reach Communities

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  1. Researching Hate Crime: Methodological Challenges with Investigating Hard-to-Reach Communities Jon Garland @Jon_Garland67

  2. Outline • Framing the Research • Aims and Objectives • Methodology • The Role of the Survey • Successes and ‘Issues’

  3. Framing the Research Rethinking dominant theory Moving beyond the five recognised hate crime victim groups Hearing the voices of those at the margins Understanding victim needs The Leicester Hate Crime Project

  4. Received £370k of ESRC funding Two-year project based in Leicester Very small research team Involvement of outside agency The Leicester Hate Crime Project

  5. Aims of the Project To establish the nature and impact of victimisation directed at people because of their identity, perceived vulnerability or ‘difference’ To identify commonalities, differences and intersections within the experiences of victims of hate crime To assess hate crime victims’ expectations & experiences of agency responses To inform the quality of service provision offered to victims of hate crime The Leicester Hate Crime Project

  6. Methodology Large-scale quantitative survey of victims of targeted violence from all sections of Leicester’s diverse population (online and hard copy) Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with victims of targeted violence The Leicester Hate Crime Project

  7. The Survey • Steering Group input • Piloted amongst ‘critical friends’ • Translated into 8 languages • Issued online and via hard copy

  8. The ‘Official Route’ • Began with a database of 400 group, community and organisational contacts • Approached gate keepers to major organisations and community leaders in Leicester • Limited success in gaining access to potential participants

  9. Barriers to Accessing Participants • Overprotective agencies • One individual speaking for a whole ‘community’ • Access to over-researched populations • Gatekeepers making unreasonable demands • Failure to capture the ‘hard to reach’ groups

  10. The ‘Soft’ Approach • Employed a grass roots methodology to engaging with communities • Attended 100s of events and drop-ins • For example coffee mornings, exercise clubs, youth groups, gay choirs, assemblies, music festivals, care homes and charity events • Presentations and discussion core element to generating interest • Developed a database of over 1,600 contacts and still growing

  11. The Survey - Successes • All three ways of administering it have been productive • Had over 1,200 responses • Reached all target communities • Already generating fascinating results

  12. We’ve Had Participation From… • African Caribbeans • Indian, Pakistan and Bangladeshi • Somalians • Zimbaweans • Sudanese, Congolese and Eritrea • Sri Lanka • Polish and Lithuanian • English Gypsies • Roma Gypsies • Jewish people • Hindus • Sikhs • Muslims • White British • LGB&T communities • Asylum seekers/refugees • People with mental health issues • Victims of elder abuse • The homeless • People with alcohol and drug problems • People with HIV and AIDS • Members of alternative subcultures • Victims of body shape abuse • Taxi drivers and restaurant workers

  13. The Survey - Issues • Translated questionnaires almost unused • Online version not as successful as we’d hoped • Too long & complicated • Nearly 200 non-victims completed survey • Significant number also filled in incorrectly

  14. Conclusions • Need ‘grassroots’, ‘soft’ approach • Hard-copy questionnaires may still be the best method • Be imaginative & persistent