Key findings

Overall the research presents a mixed picture of public authority commitment and action to eliminate targeted harassment:

  • While most respondents recognised that they had a role in taking action on targeted harassment, it is concerning that a minority still did not, especially in relation to work with perpetrators (43.6 per cent); prevention (18.1 per cent) and supporting victims (15.1 per cent).
  • Good intentions don't always result in action and it is concerning that some respondents that recognised their role did not report taking action to fulfil this. It was also disappointing that even fewer respondents said they evaluated how successful their actions were.
  • The research highlights that the main priority for respondents was helping people report targeted harassment. While this is welcomed, this focus should not come at the expense of action to support victims and work with perpetrators once reports are received. The lack of a focus on prevention among some respondents was disappointing as developing more preventative approaches to targeted harassment will help minimise the damage caused to victims and communities and the costs incurred by public authorities in responding to it.
  • While most respondents stated that there was something in their organisation's policies about targeted harassment, this did not always address harassment targeted against all the characteristics protected by the public sector duty. It was also disappointing that only four in ten respondents had action plans on targeted harassment as these can help define responsibilities and resources required from partners and improve accountability to partners and local people.
  • The survey suggests that gathering and using data on targeted harassment in developing policy is an area which public authorities need to improve on especially in relation to the impact of targeted harassment.
  • The majority of respondents (95 per cent) thought partnership working was important in tackling targeted harassment. This is welcomed as no single organisation can effectively deal with this problem alone. The most common way of working with partners was through community safety partnerships. This underlines the important role these have to play in eliminating targeted harassment.
  • While most respondents stated that their organisation had provided training on targeted harassment, most also felt that further training on targeted harassment was required.

Last updated: 25 May 2016