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"People look for someone to blame" says University of Surrey professor on coronavirus-related hate crime

2 minute read
"People look for someone to blame" says University of Surrey professor on coronavirus-related hate crime

Published by Grace Mcgachy at 6:01am 18th April 2020. (Updated at 1:04pm 20th April 2020)

The number of hate crimes being committed is reportedly on the rise because of coronavirus. 

Earlier this week police in Wiltshire said they were treating an incident in which a stranger coughed in a blind woman's face as a hate crime.

Eagle Radio spoke to Professor Jon Garland, head of Sociology at the University of Surrey, about what has been happening across the country. 


Professor Garland said there have been worrying reports since the coronavirus outbreak began: 

"Especially what we're seeing is a rise in things like verbal abuse and harassment against Chinese communities or indeed those who people think are Chinese.

"And indeed also we've seen one or two other slightly worrying things as well.

"We've even seen unfortunately the targeting and abuse on ambulances, so health workers are suffering as well." 

Professor Garlandexplained that when people feel scared they often behave irrationally: 

"Research has shown that commonly most hate crime is carried out by just ordinary members of the public who unfortunately do get wound up by certain incidents, look for a scapegoat, look for someone to blame, however unfairly and then just act upon it.

"What I think we need to do is take a bit of a deep breath and just remember although they might be worried they shouldn't abuse and harass people." 

You can report a hate crime to Surrey Police via 101 or online.

You can also report it via the Hate Crime Reporting App from Stop Hate UK.