Spain launches new helpline to report racism following a rise in cases of discrimination
Spain has launched a new racism helpline, 021, in a bid to support victims of discrimination, persecution, or hate crimes. The Ministry of Equality has launched the helpline, which will act as a similar support service to the gender violence line (016) and suicide helpline (024). It will leave no record on phone bills and will alert the emergency services, social services, or police if necessary.
However, the 021 helpline is not only a number for victims to call, but can also be used by anyone wanting to report offences or incidents of racism. The service is also accessible online and chat by using the mobile number 628 860 507.
Unfortunately, racism is an increasing problem in Spain and has been in the headlines this week following the arrest of four men in Valencia after they racially abused Real Madrid footballer Vinícius Júnior during a match and hung a dummy of the Brazilian forward from a bridge.
The last national survey of potential victims, carried out in 2020 by the Council for the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination (CEDRE), showed that 82% of those affected in Spain by racism didn’t seek help or lodge a complaint.
One in five respondents, or their families, were discriminated against in enrolment or attendance at schools, colleges or other places of academic training. Those discriminated against were almost double the number of incidents detected just seven years earlier when the previous survey took place, and the main victims were Asians and Romani people.
But most cases of racism were in cases of housing. Up to 31% of respondents, twice as many as in 2013, suffered discrimination in their attempts to rent an apartment, or a room, or to take out a loan to buy a property. People from the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa suffered the most racism in these cases.
Fines for racism offences range from minor (300 to 10,000 euros), to serious (10,001 to 40,000), or very serious (40,001 to 500,000 euros). The most serious offences are multiple discrimination, harassment, and pressure on authority or officials.
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