Around 4-10% of people from most ethnic minority groups say they have experienced racial harassment in England during the last year, according to a new study.
The proportion of people reporting racial harassment rises to 15% among Chinese women and men, the study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex found.
Other ethnic minority groups more likely to report experiencing racial harassment include Pakistani men, Indian-Sikh men, Indian-Muslim men, and Bangladeshi women.
People from ethnic minority groups are most likely to experience racial harassment in the streets, shops and public transport, particularly in areas where there isn't a high proportion of people from the same ethnic group as them.
According to the study, men from most ethnic minority groups are more likely to report experiencing racial harassment than women. The authors attribute this to the fact that men in many ethnic minority groups are more likely to have a job than women, and therefore spend more time in public places.
However, women from most ethnic minority groups are more likely to feel unsafe in certain situations and avoid places because of the fear of racial harassment.
Since a similar study in 1993, the proportion of people reporting racial harassment has dropped around 2-4% among most ethnic minority groups.
The study confirmed, too, that racial harassment – and the fear of experiencing it – can have a negative impact on mental health. “Our study has found that harassment is experienced by the broad population of ethnic minorities, and damages mental health, even among those who do not directly experience it,” the study's co-author Dr Renee Luthra told The Observer.
Her co-author Dr Alita Nandi added: "We hope this evidence will be taken up by law enforcement in identifying high-risk places and making public spaces accessible to all, and by mental health professionals by considering ethnic and racial harassment as an additional factor in mental health issues experienced by ethnic minorities in Britain."