The Traveller Movement have released a report from their 2018 conference, looking at the impact of institutional bias and discrimination on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities. The report notes that the institutional bias that exists across many aspects of public life, from governmental departments to law enforcement institutions, is what perpetuates negative stereotypes and poor treatment of GRT people.
The conference came out with several key recommendations around the issues of education, Brexit, policing and health. These included:
- Many GRT children report being bullied at school, with bullying against them not recognised as racist incidents. Schools must be sure to implement anti-bullying policies that are BAME sensitive.
- Legal challenges must be mounted against schools that do not comply with their public sector equality duty to have due regard for the equality of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.
- The Home Office should ensure that successful applicants to the settlement scheme receive physical as well as digital confirmation of settled status, so that documents can be accessed easily for those who are digitally illiterate and can also be handed down to children.
- Mandatory 18+1 ethnic monitoring should be introduced to all police forces as a matter of urgency in order to ensure that interactions with Gypsies and Travellers can be captured and analysed for trends.
- There needs to be a rethinking/reshaping of cultural awareness training into ‘access to services’ training instead, so that NHS agencies understand it is their statutory duty to provide access rather than a cultural barrier being used as a reason why they are unable to.