The primary role of KREC is casework and it takes many forms.
- Hate crimes
- Complex and difficult cases which most organisations refuse to deal with because they are ill equipped to help the victims
- Third Party Reporting
- Employment and Discrimination
KREC works on Casework and provides support for all clients who want to use our services, Listening, Counselling and advising them on discrimination, harassment, victimisation, bullying and under all the nine Protected Characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 We help draft complaints and appeal letters, facilitating and mediation discussions between different parties and working with partners and other agencies to bring about solutions.
KREC helps raise awareness on all the above issues too because we come across a number of people who do not realise they can exercise their legal and other rights in these circumstances.
KREC deals with many types of casework.
Hate Crime casework remains a key part of our work. KREC has worked on many Hate crime cases since it was set up. A large number of cases continue to be Race related. We also continue to increase the awareness of clients from other Hate crime groups and provide support for these groups. Cases involve social housing tenants, owner-occupiers, leaseholders, rented housing etc. Social housing tenants tend to be the majority and we manage these by working with the Local Authority or Housing Association. Cases with owner occupiers and leaseholders are a lot more challenging, as they are not covered by Local Authority procedures.
KREC also dealt with cases regarded as “low level” by authorities but are regarded as persistent harassment between private owner-occupiers. These cases are complex and difficult to address, as there is usually no hard evidence such as witnesses, forensic evidence, CCTV footage to use to support complainants and tackle or prosecute perpetrators.
KREC takes referrals from all areas including self-referral from victims of Hate crimes. We want to revive referral agreements with the Police, Local Authorities, Health Providers, Social Housing Sector and the Community and Voluntary Sector organisations.
Complex and Difficult cases:
KREC deals with some cases which are very complex and difficult with a multi-faceted set of issues needing to be addressed. Most advice and support giving organisations refuse to deal with these cases. KREC takes on these complex cases because most organisations are not equipped or do not have the expertise to help these victims.
Third Party Reporting:
KREC developed the strategy on Third Party reporting and Centres were set up to take reports of Hate crime. These cases are referred on to KREC for attention and action by the third party reporting centres.
Employment and Discrimination:
KREC works with organisations to raise awareness and help develop, review, evaluate and monitor policies to prevent discrimination; KREC also works with Employers and offers advice and support on Employment Discrimination.
Due to legislation changes in 2014, KREC now only provides advice and support for cases of employment discrimination, but does not take cases to Employment Tribunals due to the changes in Employment Legislation. Most referrals come directly to KREC and others from agencies – both Statutory, Community and Voluntary Sector. KREC provides technical advice and support to these clients, writes letters to their employers, drafts grievance letters or responds to disciplinary complaints, etc. KREC has also developed a good working relationship with Citizens Advice Kingston and other referral agencies and works with the Advisers Working Together (AWT) Project, to refer clients between agencies or sign posts them to others around the region.
KREC works with a number of pupils, students and parents. A number of schools where pupils who have been harassed and bullied by other pupils have been referred to KREC by the school or a parent. There is usually difficulties satisfying parents and harassed pupils where the perpetrators appear not to have been given the appropriate sanctions and that the school seemed not to have supported the victim adequately. In these circumstances KREC offers support and advocacy services to the family. KREC promotes mediation to reassure parents, pupils and teachers and facilitates meetings to defuse difficult positions. These processes have improved relationships between KREC, school teachers, pupils and parents.
Complainant experienced racist abuse and harassment from a Volunteer at her place of employment. Employee was subsequently told to draw a line under the incident after an investigation. Her Probation period was extended because she wanted the racist incident dealt with. Employee found out that during the investigation she was given a temporary Zero hours and Part-time contract, whilst a White Female colleague employed on the same day with the same duties was given a full-time permanent contract which had no zero hours. Employee was forced to resign and claimed Constructive dismissal. KREC advised and helped her to make an application to the Employment Tribunal and ACAS got involved to mediate between complainant and her Employer, a Large Kingston Charity.
KREC liaised with ACAS and represented the complainant, submitting relevant documents which had not been made available by the Employer. The Employer after protracted liaison with ACAS and seeking extensions for deliberate decided to offer employee reference but no acceptance that there has been wrong-doing. Employee also complained to the CEO of RBK and the Leader of the Council alleging race discrimination at this local Charity and bad employment practice. KREC raised the complaint at the RBK Equalities Forum seeking action and results of the investigation.
- Complainant was asked to pay to submit her full application to the Employment Tribunal which she could not afford. As a result she could not pursue the case further
- RBK informed KREC and Complainant that an investigation had been launched but to date there is no further information on the outcome of the investigation
- A meeting is being organised between RBK Equalities Officer, Head of Commissioning and KREC to establish what learning can come from this case for future action