Airing on April 16 last year, the Channel 4 documentary ‘Dispatches: The Truth About Traveller Crime’ prompted more than 800 complaints to UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom.
It’s been over a year since the Office of Communications opened their investigation into the documentary, and Travellers are still waiting on the report from the government organisation. Despite aiming to complete the investigation within 50 working days, nearly a year has passed without Ofcom’s findings being published. When pressed for explanations on the delay, there has been no response from the regulatory body.
New research undertaken by the Traveller Movement shows Gypsies and Irish Travellers were racially abused and criminally stereotyped following the Channel 4 programme. In response, the Traveller Movement created their own report.
Rather than generalise GRT groups on the basis of their ethnicity, the media should strive to reflect the many different experiences of the groups
The Traveller Movement formed survey-based research methods to investigate community reactions to the programme and the negative impacts of anti-Traveller stereotypes, particularly when Travellers are the victims and survivors of hate crime.
Based on 68 answers from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) respondents collected in May and June of 2020, here are the topline findings:
- 96% have heard negative stereotypes about travellers and crime
- 67% never saw a news article or programme that featured a traveller as a victim of a crime
- 56% had reported a crime committed against them or their family
- 55% said that in doing so, no police action had been taken
From the research conducted by the Traveller Movement, 81% of police forces across the UK were found to not include Gypsies and Travellers in their ethnic monitoring systems and do not record the Roma ethnicity – despite keeping records for other ethnic groups.
The report can be read in full here. It also contains the following solutions:
- Rather than generalise GRT groups on the basis of their ethnicity, the media should strive to reflect the many different experiences of the groups
- Ofcom staff should be better informed about GRT people and ensure they meet regulatory obligations with regard to how GRT are portrayed in the media
- The Department for Education should make GRT culture and history mandatory in school curricula across the UK
- Police Services need to improve accountability and intolerance towards discrimination against GRT people by their staff and officers