August 2008   Issue 21 header_top

A message from Dinah Cox - Chief Executive

As I will be leaving ROTA on 07 August 2008 I just wanted to take a moment at the beginning of this newsletter to say thank you to all those I have worked in partnership with over the last four and a half years. Whilst I am sad to be leaving an organisation where the staff are doing such excellent work, it felt like time for a change. With Theo Gavrielides taking over as Acting Chief Executive I am sure ROTA's contribution to race and equalities social policy in London will continue to develop. I look forward to seeing how it grows over the years and I hope I will work with many of you in my new role at Rosa, a women's fund for the UK.


1. Equality and Human Rights

Government response to the Discrimination Law Review Consultation

On the 26th of June, the Government published its new “Equality Bill: A Framework for a Fairer Future”. The Bill is expected to have an impact not only for public authorities but also private and third sector organisations. It was announced following the Government’s Discrimination Law Review in 2007 and the consultation that followed it. On 21 July the Government published its response to consultation on the Single Equality Bill. It is available at

ROTA in partnership with other Third Sector organisations participated in this process by organising events and collecting evidence. ROTA will soon be publishing a new Policy Briefing informing BAME organisations of the impact that the new Bill will have on them and the communities they serve. For more information visit our website or contact

In this issue:
01 Equality and Human Rights
02 Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
03 Community Cohesion and Empowerment
04Education and Young People
05Third Sector News

New youth led report on the use of human rights to address homophobic bullying

A new youth led report published by the Youth Empowerment Project presents evidence on what young people think needs to be done to address the issue of homophobic bullying in schools and other educational institutions. 47% of the young people who were interviewed by the youth led project were from BAME communities including African, Caribbean, Asian and European. The project involved 70 young Londoners (16-25) as volunteers and highlighted the significance of youth empowerment and youth leadership. One of the key messages of the research is that when empowered through human rights education, young people are able to look past their cultural and other differences and focus on their common humanity rather than divisive differences. This is something that the young people identified as from London theme that needs to be introduced into schools. Specific strategies were identified.

This report is timely following a recent survey according to which respondents felt they were more likely to say they were a victim of homophobic hate crime than anywhere else in Britain. The survey was carried out by Stonewall for the Home Office and focused on LGB people. The sample confirmed that 1 in 5 have experienced homophobic hate crime in the past five years, whilst three quarters do not report the crime as many do not trust the police to take action. The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has promised action, stating, "In the 21st century no one in Britain should ever feel under threat of verbal or physical violence just because of their sexual orientation".

To find out more about the Youth Empowerment Project and to get copies of the report visit or contact


2. Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour

The Building Bridges Project on BBC1 London News

The Building Bridges Project featured on BBC1 London News. The project launched its findings and recommendations at a youth-led conference on Monday 21st July. The conference was attended by over 150 delegates and saw presentations made by the Young Mayors of Lewisham, Lambeth and Newham, and Dawn Butler MP, Labour’s Vice Chair for Young People. Workshops were also run by the Young Black Positive Advocates from the Black Police Association, Peer Mentors from Foundation 4 Life, young researchers from Independent Academic Research Studies, Choice FM’s Peace on the Streets Team and young volunteers from Community Builders. To receive a copy of the final report and DVD, please contact

Funding for youth projects

On 29th July 2008, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced £700,000 new funding for three youth projects steering young people away from gun and knife crime in London. Funding was received by ‘Calling the Shots’ run by the From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation and ‘Watch Over Me’ run by the Kids Task Force, both aimed at tackling gun and knife crime through targeted educational programmes and guidance for young Londoners. The third project is also a Kids Task Force initiative designed to teach seven to eleven year olds about personal behaviour, crime and safety. The Mayor stated that ‘As well as more targeted policing efforts, to combat these issues we need strong community projects, which are relevant and interesting to young people and schemes that widen their horizons as well as raise their aspirations.’ ROTA welcomes this news as its Building Bridges project has recommended the use of educational and preventative approaches to tackling gangs and the use of weapons in London. What ROTA would now like to see is examples of such funding being extended beyond this financial year; it is vital that if we are to provide such programmes for young people that they are sustainable and run for 3-5 years in order to see real impact.

For more information on this funding visit

ROTA’s Transformative Justice Forum

ROTA is currently inviting applications from interested parties to sit on its Transformative Justice Forum (TJF) that looks to reduce the impact of crime against groups that suffer high victimisation levels. The TJF will create opportunities for partnership across London addressing keys areas of concern including hate crime. The forum is part of a multi-year funded project supported by the London Councils and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. TJF members will be compensated for their time and expenses. For an application pack or information please contact

Increased Confidence in Third Party Reporting of Hate Crime?

Despite a reported overall decrease of 11.1% in the number of racist crimes committed across the capital, the Borough of Barnet has experienced an increase of over 20% in racist crime alone – higher than any other Borough. With hate crimes being reported to the police at a rate of 5 a day during the last year Detective Inspector Tony Caetano Barnet CSU, Councillor Brian Gordon and Aruna Patel of Barnet Multicultural Community Centre, believe this is a combination of the good partnership work that is taking place at borough level between Safer Neighbourhood Teams resulting in people feeling more comfortable and ease to report a hate crime due to the seriousness with which it will be investigated. A current priority of the Met is to increase third party reporting, and therefore it is important that victims and witnesses are encouraged to report and feel confident in doing so which is why it is important that best practice can be shared with other boroughs that are experiencing difficulties in this area, for more information on this story please contact

Challenging Racism in Early Years – The Significance for London

The recent report by Jane Lane, Young Children and Racial Justice, highlights that racism remains a particularly serious problem throughout the UK, creating problems in every area of welfare. Evidently, this can be thought to be especially significant and concerning for London with its huge and increasing BAME population that are often neglected in areas of service provision. Lane’s report reiterates a number of findings and recommendations from recent pieces of research carried out by ROTA (Building Bridges Project & Restoring Relations Project: Addressing Hate Crime through RJ) in that racism is taught, much of which can come from the home though, whilst accepting that the media plays a crucial and adverse role. Moreover, the need for more awareness at a young age through the national curriculum about issues of black history, and not just slavery are thought to be fundamental for fostering better relations in a multi-cultural environment. For more information on this work visit


3. Community Cohesion and Empowerment

V4CE Policy Symposium on Equality and Cohesion in Britain

Voice for Change England held a Policy Symposium that sought to shape the debate on ‘equality’, ‘multiculturalism’, ‘cohesion’ and ‘integration’ by engaging those with an interest and influence on BAME communities’ issues to share their views with public policy makers. It provided a platform for the BAME third sector to debate the BAME perspectives to inform the formulation of public policy.

Success for Southall Black Sisters

‘There is no dichotomy between funding specialist services and cohesion; equality is necessary for cohesion to be achieved.’ Lord Justice Moses'

Earlier this year Ealing Council decided to withdraw funding from Southall Black Sisters (SBS), an organisation which provides domestic violence services to Asian and African Caribbean women in Ealing. Ealing Council told SBS it no longer wanted to fund a domestic violence service dedicated solely to the needs of this community.

On 24 April 2008, a High Court judge granted SBS users permission to proceed with legal action against Ealing Council for its failure to have proper regard to its duties under the Race Relations Act, in reaching its decision about funding SBS. The judge also granted an injunction to stop the Council making any decisions on the funding of domestic violence services until the case is concluded. On 17th and 18th July the High Court heard the case against Ealing Council, which sought to justify its decision on the grounds that a generic domestic violence service would be better placed to meet requirements of the equality legislation and the so called ‘cohesion’ agenda. On 18th, Ealing Council conceded defeat and withdrew from the case.


4. Education and Young People

Hazel Blears launches search for role models to inspire Black boys

A major national search to recruit Black male role models gets underway as Communities Secretary Hazel Blears calls for motivational Black and mixed heritage men to take a lead in inspiring the next generation of Black boys to achieve and succeed. The creation of the first ever Black Boys' National Role Model programme is part of a package of measures to help raise the aspirations and attainment of some of today's young Black men. Hazel Blears wants to encourage Black and mixed heritage men from all walks of life to come forward and play a part in lifting the sights of young Black boys.

Hazel Blears said: "It is crucial that we improve the life chances of young Black boys. Too few Black men and boys are achieving their full potential and the consequences of that are being seen socially and economically. "There needs to be a collective effort to combat underachievement and low aspirations amongst our young Black men." ROTA welcomes this initiative and we look forward to seeing its impact on BAME young people and communities. We would encourage the programme to involve the BAME Third Sector and use the expertise of BAME youth led groups that have been working on these issues for years.

Youth Crime Action Plan

On 15th July, the government unveiled its Youth Crime Action Plan with what they have called a £100 Million Triple Track Approach To Tackling Youth Crime. The plan which was launched by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Children’s Secretary Ed Balls aims to reduce the rate at which 10-17 year olds enter the criminal justice by one fifth by 2020 and in turn to substantially reduce the number of young victims. The plan seeks to combine prevention and enforcement to see the change. Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said:“The vast majority of young people are not involved in crime but we must to be tough on the few young people who are and reduce the harm they cause. It’s also vital we prevent those who are at risk from getting into this type of behaviour in the first place. This is not a simple choice between enforcement, non-negotiable support or prevention. We need all of those things to work together both at a national level and locally through Children’s Trusts if we are to have a real impact on youth crime.” ROTA will be monitoring how these plans are realised on the ground and how prevention and enforcement are balanced. ROTA also aims to produce a briefing on this plan later in the year. Given the disproportionate impact that the Criminal Justice System has on BAME communities, it is crucial that these new plans do not re-enforce this pattern.

London Pledge to tackle Child Poverty

On 15th July, London’s Child Poverty Ministers Stephen Timms, Beverley Hughes and Jane Kennedy called for organisations across the London to recognise their role in tackling child poverty and to pledge to do more. In London 400,000 children still live in poverty. The ‘London Pledge’ asks services that work with children and families, such as jobcentres, schools, Children’s Centres and other local services to sign up to a set of specific actions to help London’s families raise their incomes and lift themselves and their children out of poverty. Stephen Timms said “This is not just a job for central Government - public services, local government, charities and communities, and others must play a role. We are challenging all these partners to recognise that ending child poverty is their business, and to commit to playing their part in this historic challenge.” Organisations who want to commit to the ‘London Pledge’ should contact the Child Poverty Unit. In October, all signatories will be invited to join Ministers, the Mayor, and other London leaders to share their commitments.


5.0 Third Sector News

LDA Leadership Sets New Direction

The new head of the London Development Agency is reshaping the organisation to focus on three key areas of importance to Londoners – jobs creation, skills development and sustainable economic growth. Interim Chief Executive Peter Rogers said:

"The LDA is committed to delivering benefits to Londoners. We will adopt a more strategic role and our work will be focused in three key areas - the creation of jobs, improving the skills of people in the capital and putting measures in place to promote economic growth. We are fostering relationships with our partners in the boroughs, the private and voluntary sectors to help us achieve value for money and the best possible outcomes for communities."