How to report hate crime anonymously in SA
In a first of its kind locally‚ a website has been launched to help victims anonymously report hate crimes in South Africa.
The platform was created by the Love Not Hate campaign‚ a nationwide initiative addressing violence against lesbian‚ gay‚ bisexual‚ transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Love Not Hate spokesperson Lerato Phalakatshela said secondary victimisation - experiencing victim-blaming while reporting a crime - was a real factor in South Africa and often deterred people from reporting hate crimes. “Victims sometimes don’t want to report to a person physically. People sometimes want to remain anonymous and still want to share a story that happened to them.”
“We wanted to give people a platform where they can share their stories or incidents … without being victimised.”
He said that a study done by the organisation in 2016 revealed that 44% of LGBTI people had experienced some form of discrimination or hate crime and that 88% of those victims did not report crimes committed against them. This meant that the majority of people from the LGBTI community did not report crimes‚ he added.
Victims or witnesses can report incidents such as hate speech‚ online crimes‚ verbal discrimination and violent attacks. The reports can be anonymous and will be added to a map displaying where incidents had taken place.
The reports will be used by Love Not Hate to monitor hate crimes and understand where they happen. Victims can choose to request assistance‚ whether it be counselling or health and legal support‚ which will be facilitated by the organisation.
“What we have picked up is that most hate crimes occur in townships‚ more than in urban areas. It is mostly black lesbian women who are victims. It happens at places where people consume alcohol. This can be at social gatherings at taverns‚ clubs or bars between 2am and 4am‚” said Phalakatshela.
Because some people living in rural areas may not have access to the internet‚ the Love Not Hate campaigners plan to take the concept to smaller‚ community-based organisations to raise awareness of the various crime-reporting tools at their disposal.