News & Updates

Responding To Hate In Hamilton

Aug 3, 2021

Early on this year, HCCI partnered with McMaster University’s Office of Community Engagement to undertake a research project to understand the needs of community members impacted by hate in Hamilton. HCCI is happy to share the results from the focus group and give the community an update on the independent online platform for reporting hate in Hamilton.

Executive Summary from the Report – Understanding the Needs and Concerns of Communities Affected by Hate in Hamilton

Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) is a charitable organization with a mission to mobilize all Hamiltonians to create an inclusive and welcoming city. Concerned about the prevalence of hate crimes in Hamilton, as well as statistics that suggest that the majority of hate crimes are underreported to the police, HCCI began a long-term initiative to understand and address this issue. In Phase One of this initiative, HCCI commissioned two graduate students from McMaster University to review research regarding the problem of hate crimes and hate-based incidents in Canada. The research found that an independent and online hate reporting system could serve as an effective alternative to institutional mechanisms, which fall short of addressing the problem of hate crimes. Building on this research, Phase Two of HCCI’s initiative included consultations with communities affected by hate in Hamilton. For this purpose, HCCI approached McMaster Research Shop to conduct a preliminary needs assessment with communities affected by hate. Phase Three of this initiative will involve HCCI engaging in ongoing dialogue with additional populations that were not captured in the research conducted by the McMaster Research Shop.
This report is a summary of the McMaster Research Shop’s preliminary findings. In this phase of the research to date, we conducted 4 focus groups, amounting to 16 participants, with the most common targets of hate in Hamilton, namely, the Black, Jewish, 2S-LGBTQIA+, and Indigenous communities.

Findings from our focus groups show that the majority of participants feel uncomfortable reporting hate crimes and hate-based incidents to the police, due to concerns about police violence, intimidation and inaction. On the other hand, these participants stated that an independent hate crime reporting platform may serve as an effective alternative to reporting to the police since it would allow them to report incidents at their own pace and without fear of compromising their identity.

Participants expressed that the information collected by the platform should be used to provide individual case support, such as mental health services. Additionally, several participants stated that case-level information should not be shared with the police since this can compromise the identity of the victim.

The majority of participants expressed support for the development of an independent hate crime reporting platform. However, they stated that HCCI should create mechanisms for feedback and communication, such as the development of an advisory committee with representatives from communities that are commonly affected by hate in Hamilton. The purpose of these mechanisms would be to ensure that the needs and concerns of communities affected by hate are incorporated into the ongoing operations of the hate crime reporting platform.

Furthermore, several participants recommended that HCCI invest in their communities, through attendance at community events and involvement with relevant social causes, as a means to build trust and support for the hate crime reporting platform. There are several limitations to this study, including the lack of representation from additional communities affected by hate, such as Muslims, South Asians, Arab/West Asians, East Asians. The methods used for recruitment for the focus groups resulted in convenience sampling and self-selection bias.

HCCI invites you to a community discussion on how Hamilton can respond to hate. Please join us on our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube) as we host a panel with Dr. Ameil Joseph (McMaster University), Amira Elghawaby (Human Rights Advocate & Journalist), Mohammed Hashim (Canadian Race Relations Foundation), & Rodrigo Narro Perez (Community Member).

Responding To Hate In Hamilton: Dr. Ameil Joseph (McMaster University), Amira Elghawaby (Human Rights Advocate & Journalist), Mohammed Hashim (Canadian Race Relations Foundation), & Rodrigo Narro Perez (Community Member).

Timeline for Independent Online Platform for Reporting Hate

Initial TimelineJune 2019 – Oct 2020Nov –Dec 2020Jan – April 2021April – July 2021Aug  – Nov 2021Dec – 2021 – Feb 2022
Adjusted TimelineJan – July 2021August – Nov 2021Nov 201 – Feb 2022Feb – Mar 2022
StageEvents at Hamilton Pride   Yellow Vests rallying a City Hall every Saturday   Hamilton ranks number one in hate crimes/incidents per capita in Canada.Literature Review completed by students from the Gender Studies and Feminism Research program at McMaster University. Findings -> The creation of an independent, user-friendly, and multifaceted online reporting system.Consultation with communities and individuals affected by hate in Hamilton about the feasibility of creating an independent, user-friendly online reporting system.Recruitment & Hiring of Web Developer to Start creating an independent, user-friendly online reporting system.Alpha and Beta Testing with focus groups to access the reliability and accuracy of the platform.Launch
PartnersMcMaster University- Gender & Feminism Research Program  
McMaster School of Social Work
McMaster University – Office of Community Engagement,   Hamilton Pride, ACCA, Jewish Federation, SpeqtrumMcMaster University – Sherman Centre, Canadian Race Relations Foundation,  McMaster School of Social Work

If you have been impacted by hate in Hamilton we encourage you to fill out this short 5-10 minutes survey