15 SEPTEMBER 2016 

The Diana Award is proud to support the Fawcett Society’s #FaceHerFuture campaign. In these uncertain times it is important for us to come together to stand up against all forms of xenophobia, hate crime, and misogyny. As a charity, we believe that young people have the power to change the world, and we have worked with tens of thousands of inspirational young people who have tackled these concerns in their communities. Now more than ever it is vital to continue this work and unite alongside other organisations who share this goal with us.

In the aftermath of the EU Referendum there was a spike in hate crimes across the nation. According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council, hate crime rose by 57%, and between 1-14th of July there were 3235 reports of hate crimes and incidents, an increase of 29% on the same period in 2015.

It is clear that young people and schools have not been isolated from this behaviour. Teachers and parents have reported increased incidences of racial bullying in schools. For example, the daughter of a Polish family told to “f*** off back to your country” by a peer in Essex; a British Asian girl in Kent being asked “When are you going home?” by her classmates. The Department for Education have been quick to react to this, releasing a statement to all schools reaffirming that “no child should live in fear of racism or bullying”.

Physical markers of difference, alongside dress can make one more susceptible to racial or hate crime incidences. Women have been disproportionately targeted in the aftermath of the Brexit vote as a result, and there are concerns amongst other anti-bullying charities that this pattern is reflected amongst young people in schools.

We at the Diana Award have worked with inspirational young people who have taken the lead to tackle important issues such as racism and xenophobia in their communities. For example, Springwell Community College in Chesterfield’s contribution to this was picked up by Ofsted in 2014:

“Students have a good understanding of the different types of bullying, including that based on racism and homophobia. Leaders take bullying seriously and the college’s anti-bullying ambassadors spoke enthusiastically to inspectors about their work and how it has helped them to be more assertive and to empathise with their peers. One student commented, ‘You change a lot yourself because you’re helping other people overcome their problems.’”

The Diana Award also recognises the achievements of students who have successfully ensured their communities are a happier and friendlier place to be. For example, students from Oathall Community College were awarded with The Diana Award for relaunching policies on racism, bullying, and poor behaviour. Doon Academy’s Mentors in Violence Prevention were also awarded with The Diana Award for preventing bullying and school violence involving young people from all socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and for making a difference to the lives of others through the programme, with fellow students reporting reduced sexism within the school environment.

Now more than ever it is vital to continue our work with young people in becoming advocates for change in their communities.

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Pooja Kumari, Policy analyst at the Diana AwardABOUT AUTHOR 

Pooja is Research and Policy Analyst at The Diana Award. She has a master’s in Social Policy (Research) from LSE and an undergraduate degree in History and Politics from Durham University. Pooja has also participated in the TeachFirst scheme and taught History for four years in secondary schools.