B.C.’s in the midst of developing a hotline for people to report racist incidents, whether witnessed or experienced oneself.
The multilingual reporting system will not be delivered or monitored by police, the provincial government confirmed Friday (April 30).
Run by community stakeholders, those who report racism will receive validation, support and referrals to nonprofit services such as counselling.
B.C. is a “major hot spot for anti-Asian racism,” acknowledged Attorney General David Eby.
In Vancouver alone, anti-Asian hate crimes increased more than 700 per cent the year the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold, compared to 2019.
“Even more concerning is that some people may be reluctant to report incidents through existing avenues like calling the police, which may mean we have an under-reporting of the scope of the problem,” Eby said.
“This hotline will lower the barrier for reporting incidents, helping us better direct further action and be more rapid in our responses.”
The hotline is not intended to replace emergency response services, including police, when racist incidents pose public safety risks.
Instead, it will serve to map out the larger picture of racism in the province – data from it will spur on anti-racism initiatives, including legislative changes.
The government is currently consulting with racialized groups on the matter.
Broader public engagement is in the works for summer.
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