Racial harassment

Racial harassment is abuse suffered by individuals, families or groups of people because of their colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origin.

The abuse can exist in many forms and might:

  • consist of one incident or a series
  • include attacks on property as well as on the person
  • be written, physical or verbal
  • involve criminal acts.

Racial Harassment Service

We can offer advice and help to anyone living in or visiting Cambridge suffering racial harassment.

If you or members of your family have been subject to racial harassment, have witnessed a racial incident, or have concerns about racial harassment in any way, please call our Racial Harassment Service on 01223 457967 or 07973 883 261.

Or, complete and return the racial harassment incident report form [PDF, 96Kb].

Responding to reported abuse

When it receives a report of harassment, the Racial Harassment Service aims to see the complainant within three days.

The Racial Harassment Service will find out what support the person needs and assesses the danger of further incidents. The service can take emergency action to increase the security of people's homes at this stage.

The Racial Harassment Service will also try to contact any witnesses and alleged perpetrators. It does this only with the consent of the victim. If consent is given, it will want to obtain statements from all parties concerned.

Findings of any inquiry are considered by the Racial Harassment Service who decide on the best way for the council to respond to what has happened.

Possible outcomes

The Racial Harassment Service might decide there is not enough evidence in the case; that racism is not the main issue; or it may recommend both parties to seek mediation.

The council might also send its tenants warnings of varying strengths reminding them of their conditions of tenancy. It can also:

  • take legal action
  • take action to evict tenants
  • seek injunctions to stop further harassment
  • remove graffiti and deal with damaged property
  • put in security measures
  • re-house tenants in serious cases
  • liaise with relevant authorities (e.g. police) and form a legal strategy to deal with harassment.

Your rights

The Racial Harassment Service considers testimony from all parties in a case - victims, witnesses and alleged perpetrators. It will only take action on adequate grounds.

With prior agreement, it is possible for victims and alleged perpetrators of harassment or their representatives to attend the meeting which considers their case.

If you're unhappy with the outcome or procedure in a particular case, you can make a complaint through our complaints procedure.


The Racial Harassment Service offers a confidential service to any person who believes they may be subject to racial harassment. Steps are taken to preserve confidentiality of complainants and witnesses and no action is taken without the consent of victims.

The service can also put people in touch with organisations which offer counselling and support.

Stop Hate UK

Stop Hate UK is one of the leading national organisations working to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination, based on any aspect of an individual’s identity.

The organisation, set up in response to the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, provides independent, confidential, and accessible reporting and support for victims, witnesses and third parties, with a 24-hour hate crime reporting service.

The organisation now covers Cambridgeshire and you can report hate crime online, or on 0800 138 1625.

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