The Regional Refugee Forum (RRF) is an independent grass roots membership organisation created in 2003.
It was created by and for the region’s diverse Refugee-led Community Organisations (RCOs).
The RRF empowers organisations to work together to recognise the disadvantages and challenges to settlement, integration and equality in local services, which they share because of lived experience as Refugees and Asylum Seekers (RAS.)
The organisation also collects evidence to identify root causes to those barriers and what works in overcoming them.
It also encourages RCOs to present an authentic Collective Advocate Voice to decision makers to influence changes in policy and practice.
In 2015, RRF members identified factors deterring RAS from reporting Hate Crime. Because of their unique status, refugees and asylum seekers perceive the risks of reporting outweigh the advantages. Therefore, most victims don’t access support, justice or protection.
RCOs felt under-supported and under-used by Criminal Justice Agencies (CJAs), more often seen as gateways to the community rather than partners in delivery.
This project aims to plug knowledge gaps and promote reporting pathways, options for anonymity, response and escalation.
It also aims to allow discussion of what should happen to perpetrators as well as promoting access to support victims, providing more accurate mapping and building competencies of services to deliver to the needs of RAS.
This will be achieved by brokering direct engagement and developing collaborative working over nine months between 14 RCOs active in the Force area and Cleveland Police, PCC, CPS, Victim Care and local 3rd party reporting centres.
Project actions include:
- Three strategic level meetings between RRF’s Community Safety Working Group and CJAs
- Nine or monthly meetings/workshops between key volunteers from the 14 RCOs and CJAs
- Nine or monthly learning visits/walkthroughs by key volunteers to CJAs services and facilities
- Two upskilling sessions delivered by RRF’s Working Group to front line staff in CJAs
- Support each RCO to cascade the learning to its community and develop its partnership role
- Create a DVD of peer voices and key messages from CJAs and promote its use in welcome projects
- Sharing what works at local and regional meetings of the NE Migration Partnership.