The attempt by Macpherson to clarify the definintion of a racist incident has further highlighted how racism and racist harassment are misunderstood and not effectively debated. This paper highlights some of the issues which emerge from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry's definition of of a racist incident and whether it will be a useful tool.
The introduction of the new Commission for Racial Equality Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Housing (CRE, 2005) highlights the continued need to monitor and respond to the disadvantage that minority ethnic people experience both in the housing market and generally in life chances. Although there has been improvement for some minority ethnic communities, overall differences still persist in life chances, educational opportunities and type and quality of housing available to people from minority ethnic communities.
Empowerment is a key value when working with clients subject to racist incidents in housing services. Casework practice is the process whereby, for example, housing officers, antisocial behaviour officers and neighbourhood wardens work with a tenant who has reported a racist incident to help resolve the complaint. This article focuses on the need for racist/hate incident caseworkers to be aware of the value of empowerment, and to be able to offer an empowering service when working directly with clients. The article argues that victims of racist incidents value a dedicated and non-judgemental casework service that offers them some pathway to help, assistance and a secure sense of self and place. The caseworker is able to facilitate all this by the service they offer to their clients by recognising and responding to the values of empowerment, advocacy and a victim-centred service.
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