Edmonton group part of province-wide survey on hate crime

Click to play video: 'Alberta moving forward with plan to create Provincial Hate Crimes Unit'
Alberta moving forward with plan to create Provincial Hate Crimes Unit
March 15: Premier Rachel Notley says her government is working on creating a hate crimes unit to help police forces coordinate responses to any group promoting hate or extremism – Mar 15, 2019

A new survey is up and running, with the goal of providing insight into how many Albertans have been the target of hate crime. Once the data is compiled, support groups will create a provincial response.

The Response Model is being developed by Coalitions Creating Equity (CCE), a province-wide initiative made up of five agencies from Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary.

Helen Rusich, from the REACH Edmonton Council, has a gut feeling that as many as 40 per cent of the population could be on the receiving end of a hate incident, witnessed one, or tried to help someone who has been a target of a hate incident.

READ MORE: New report identifies 7 extremist groups of threat to Alberta, offers recommendations to combat hate

“I think 10 per cent of our Edmonton population is Muslim. I’ve also heard 10 per cent of the Edmonton population is LGBTQ. Edmonton is the second-largest Indigenous city and area in the country. That’s just three. We haven’t really looked at how many homeless, how many are people with disabilities, how many are low income.”

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CCE points out that, according to the Canadian Criminal Code, a hate crime is defined as a crime motivated by hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation. Meanwhile, a hate incident is considered non-criminal and is an action committed against a person or property, with the same motives as for a hate crime.

Watch below (Feb. 15, 2017): The Alberta Hate Crime Committee has launched a website in order to document hate-related incidents across the province by type, time and location. Emily Mertz has the details.

Click to play video: '#StopHateAB website tracks hate-related incidents in Alberta'
#StopHateAB website tracks hate-related incidents in Alberta

“Look at the amount of populations that this affects — Indigenous, ethno-cultural, LGBTQ, homeless — it’s pervasive. In my opinion, we need to be working better together to address the incidents that happen to these folks daily,” Rusich said.

READ MORE: Hate crimes unit consulted for investigation after Edmonton mosque visited by men known to police

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Hate incidents are often not reported or documented, she added.

The anonymous survey will run through mid-September, where a response model for hate incidents will provide guidelines for documenting hate incidents and supporting people who have been the targets of them.

“There are other groups working in this area… the Alberta Hate Crime Committee, there’s a Muslim council that also tracks these things, so what we’re trying to do is bring people together to look at this across the province,” she said.

You can complete the 10-minute survey here.

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