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Tackling the “Known Unknown”: How Equality Bodies Can Address Under-Reporting of Discrimination through Communications

May 15th 2013

This publication was prepared by Equinet’s Working Group on Communication Strategies and Practices. The working group is mandated to explore how national equality bodies can share information on and enhance their strategic approach to communication activities and build capacity in this area. This working group serves as a platform for discussion, reflection and action on the effective development of communication strategies and activities by equality bodies. It focuses on the work of members in raising awareness of equality, rights and obligations among the general public and the groups experiencing discrimination.

This paper considers the nature of under-reporting and the challenge to equality bodies to identify and address any barriers that may contribute to the issue. It also highlights the need to have robust systems to capture both formal and informal reports and to be able to interrogate this data when developing activities to embed good equality practices in workplaces and service provision. The report also raises the question around the capacity of equality bodies to deal appropriately with increased reports of discrimination.

The report contains five chapters, authored by five members of the Equinet Working Group on Communication Strategies and Practices:

- Defining and understanding under-reporting, Thekla Demetriadou, Office of the Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman), Cyprus
- A framework for responding to under-reporting and the role of communication, Nadine Brauns, Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, Belgium
- Communication to inform members of groups experiencing discrimination about their rights and how to exercise them, Christine Bendixen, Danish Institute for Human Rights, Denmark
- Communication to build confidence among members of groups experiencing discrimination in exercising their rights, Katarzyna Wilkołaska-Żuromska, Human Rights Defender, Poland
- Communication to build a culture of rights in society, Dimitris Hormovitis, Greek Ombudsman, Greece

All the chapters all inspirational and provide powerful insights and many ways to influence and shape change.

The report (available only in English) can be downloaded below: [1]

You can also order free hardcopies of this publication by using the online order form.

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