In contributing to this discussion, I should declare an interest here: I direct the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR).
INAR already runs a fully confidential and independent Racist Incident Reporting System whose questionnaire is based on the NCCRI’s one. So my short answer to the above question is an emphatic“Yes”, moreover I would like to argue that the current INAR reporting system is best positioned to become the most reliable and effective confidential independent reporting and monitoring system for racist incidents.
To report an incident, INAR’s reporting system can be found online here at:
INARis a membership organisation (originally set up 1997 as the Irish Platform Against Racism), the purpose of which is for the Irish Anti Racist sector to coordinate its responses to racism with similar organisations in 30 European countries, via ENAR, the European Network Against Racism. INAR’s core mission is to provide a key collective response from Irish Anti Racist organisations in the form of the reporting system.
INAR comprises 30+ anti-racist organisations throughout the Republic of Ireland,including the Irish Traveller Movement, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, theIrish Refugee Council, Pavee Point, the National Traveller Women’s Forum, theRoma Integration Association, the New Communities Partnership, the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland, Donegal Failte, Doras Luimni, NASC etc. etc. INAR spans the 26 counties and has representatives from all groups who are subjected to racism. INAR’s members have endorsed INAR’s reporting system as the one which all members direct people too, while retaining ownership of the information fed in from each point.
INAR’s system is therefore ideally placed to be the definitive reporting system which organisations and individuals throughout Ireland can use, since as a membership organisation, INAR enjoys neutrality and legitimacy through having the widest organisational, geographical, and cultural diversity.
INAR’s vision of a reporting system is one that provides a confidential and accessible means of reporting that is independent. The system must be easy to use, both in terms of the interface, and in that it must be in very easy to understand language. It must be culturally sensitive, as much to people from the Democratic Republic of Congo as to Roma, and as much to Irish Travellers as to people from the Philippines and Malaysia and so forth. It must also be able to capture how racism impacts in a particular way on women, and how it varies for every different ethnic group. It must also be one that can produce reliable and meaningful information on racist incidences, whether they constitute actual crimes undercurrent law or not.
For this to be effective, the information gathered must be able to allow us, as a sector, to identify patterns of racism locally and nationally, and test our responses, to get better data on the impact of racist incidents, as well as informing the debates around the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, incitement to hatred, the question of enhanced sentencing for racially aggravated crimes and so on.
A racist incident monitoring system’s effectiveness can be measured by its ability to bring about positive change in patterns of racism, whether through local and national responses, or through reform of the criminal justice system.The current INAR reporting system is already working to national standards, but it is not where in needs to be quite yet. INAR is currently working very hard to meet the standards I am outlining here.
Meeting those standards can be a challenge, as the experience internationally tells us.An example of one of the ways we are meeting the challenge is in INAR’s current revision of the original NCCRI-based questionnaire. This revision is based on consultations with membership organisations, and with front line staff, and users, in particular. It is also informed by the results of a comprehensive mapping of existing reporting systems, as well as on current academic research, and on international best practice guidelines for reporting mechanisms, such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s guidelines for Hate Crime monitoring. Another example of a challenge we are meeting is that we are making it possible for membership organisations and individuals to automatically retain a copy of the information they submit for their own purposes; eg. local data analysis, or simply as a personal record or a supporting document if an individual choses to take a complaint to the Guards, for example. This is being made possible thanks to the new software we are testing.
INAR will be launching the revised www.iReport.ie reporting mechanism on July 11th. Please support this in any way you can to help us to promote this vital social justice tool for all.