Racial violence – the buried issue

April 22, 2010 — Press release

Written by Institute of Race Relations

Research from the Institute of Race Relations reveals that, on average, five people per year are being killed in racial attacks in the UK since the death of Stephen Lawrence.

The Institute of Race Relations, the only research body in the UK to monitor racial violence, has found that a total of eighty-nine people have lost their lives in racial violence attacks in the UK since the murder of Stephen Lawrence on 22 April 1993.

Of these, eighty-three were from BME communities and just six were White (four were White British and two were Polish migrant workers). Forty-six per cent of all victims were Asian and 26 per cent were Black. The vast majority of perpetrators, 94 per cent, were White British people.

People working alone and at night as taxi drivers, workers in takeaways or small shops are at particular risk of attack – 16 per cent of all deaths. Those who do not have settled immigration status, home or community such as asylum seekers, migrant workers and overseas students are also at risk – 20 per cent of all deaths. And Muslims represented a massive 44 per cent of all those who died (partly explained by the fact that they work in the particularly risky trades).

A spokesperson at IRR commented: ‘Seventeen years ago, the country was transfixed by the information that emerged, because of the sustained campaign by the Lawrence family, about the random nature of the attack and the way the police failed to find the killers. The Macpherson report into the death, with its finding of institutional racism in the police force and seventy recommendations as to how to deal with the problem and with that of racial violence, was supposed to ensure that such murders never happened again. But they have happened again and again and again. The sad thing is that such deaths hardly make news. The names of the victims will barely be known to anyone but their immediate families. For politicians, the issue of racial violence is dead and buried.’

The IRR will be publishing a full briefing paper on racial violence, Racial violence: the buried issue – which includes an analysis of attacks in 2009. The IRR is also holding a workshop for community groups on Combating racial violence on Friday 30 April 2010.

Related links

Read the IRR’s Factfile on Racially Motivated Murders (Known or Suspected) 2000 onwards

Read the IRR’s Factfile on Racially Motivated Murders (Known or Suspected) 1991-1999

Read a Guardian news story: ‘Solitary workers at high risk of racist attack, survey shows’

IRR workshop: Combating racial violence

For more information, contact Harmit Athwal by phone: 020 7837 0041 or 07972 850 143, or email: mit@irr.org.uk.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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