Further research has revealed a clearer picture of the state of reported hate incidents in Australia from 2014 to 2021.
The study was based on reports from three targeted communities – Jewish, Muslim and Asian – the only communities that have a reporting and documentation system, and that produce reports of hate incidents against their community.
The study found that there were 3,522 hate incidents reported in the seven-year period between September 17, 2014 and September 30, 2021. This equates to an average of more than one incident per day. There are two periods, corresponding to different community declaration periods.
During the first period, in the five years between the end of 2014 and 2019, 2,203 hate-motivated incidents were reported. These were comprised of 1,364 anti-Jewish incidents (in the 60 months from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2019) and 839 anti-Muslim incidents (in the 64 months from September 17, 2014 to December 31, 2019).
During the second period, in the two years 2020 and 2021, 1,319 hate-motivated incidents were reported. These were comprised of 778 anti-Jewish incidents (in the 24 months from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2021) and 541 anti-Asian incidents (in the 15 months from April 2, 2020 to June 28, 2021).
The intensity of hate incidents on communities can be understood through proportionality. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016 in Australia there were just under 100,000 Jews, 604,000 Muslims and 2.4 million people of East and Southeast Asian descent. This means that proportionally, for every 100,000 people in each community, there were 306 anti-Jewish incidents, 24 anti-Muslim incidents, and 18 anti-East/Southeast Asian incidents, on average per year.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has produced an annual report on antisemitism every year since 1990, spurred by a series of arson attacks on synagogues in 1990 and 1991. There have been a total of 2,142 incidents anti-Jews reported for the seven years from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2021; average of 306 incidents per year.
The annual number of anti-Jewish incidents ranged from 190 in 2015 to 447 in 2021. Anti-Jewish incidents, documented in the ECAJ 2021 report, as a percentage of total incidents, included: verbal abuse 33%; graffiti 24%; e-mail, mail, telephone 23%; placards, posters, stickers 16 percent; assault 2%; and vandalism 2%.
The Islamophobia Register Australia (IRA) was set up ‘in response to increased harassment and attacks’ on Muslims after police raids in Sydney and Brisbane in 2014. There were a total of 839 anti -Muslims reported between September 17, 2014 and December 31. 2019, a period of 64 months, of which 388 (47%) were online posts/comments. The average number of anti-Muslim incidents per year for the five years between 2015 and 2019 was 147.
The three IRA reports documented 243 incidents in 2014 and 2015 (16 months), 349 in 2016 and 2017 (24 months) and 247 in 2018 and 2019 (24 months). Of these incidents, 55%, 42%, and 44%, respectively, were online content.
The IRA’s 2018-2019 report noted that the 138 offline incidents included: hate speech (46%); discrimination (14 percent); discrimination by authorities (14 percent); graffiti/vandalism (13%); assault (eight percent); damage to persons (three percent); and property damage (2%). Of the 109 online incidents, these occurred on Facebook (86%); email (six percent); online media (six percent); and Twitter (six percent). These percentages were similar to those in the second report.
The Asian Australian Alliance (AAA) report was prompted by racism against Asians in Australia resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The first report covered the two-month period from April 2, 2020 to June 2, 2020 and recorded 377 incidents. The second report covered the 13-month period from June 3, 2020 to June 28, 2021, recording 164 incidents. This represents a total of 541 anti-Asian incidents over a 15-month period, and an average of 432 incidents over a 12-month period.
In the AAA’s second report, incidents included: direct racial slurs/names (35%); online harassment (25 percent); make a joke of it (13%); verbal threats (eight percent); spit/sneeze/cough on it (seven percent); bullying/physical harassment (seven percent); avoidance (six percent); discrimination at work (2%); and other categories of discrimination below 2%.
These 3,522 hate-motivated incidents represent only a portion of hate-motivated incidents. Many other anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and anti-Asian incidents go unreported. Additionally, incidents against other targeted communities go unreported due to the lack of an organization that collects reports for these communities.
Hate incident data from these three targeted communities can be used by governments, human rights agencies, police and others, to formulate policies and practices to address motivated incidents. by hatred. Therefore, it is crucial that all persons involved in hate-motivated incidents report these incidents to the appropriate body, if one exists.
Julie Nathan is Director of Research at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
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