London, Nov 19: Chinese people in Britain report the highest levels of racial harassment than any other ethnic group, according to a new study.
The study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex suggested that 15 per cent of Chinese men and women reported harassment last year, while 4-10 per cent of men and women from most ethnic minority groups said they experienced racial harassment in the same period, the Guardian reported on Sunday.
But 50 years since the first anti-discrimination legislation came into force in the UK, there was a marked decline in reports of racial harassment among what the researchers describe as the most established minority, black Caribbeans, who have the highest proportion of adults aged 60 and over.
Reports of harassment were down by 10 percentage points for men and five points for women.
Ethnic minorities who live significantly outside multicultural areas were far more likely to experience racial harassment, the study said.
There was a 14 per cent chance of someone from an ethnic minority experiencing racial harassment if they lived in a predominantly white area.
“The prevalence of racial or any other form of harassment is one of the most serious issues facing British society,” said Shamit Saggar, professor of political science and public policy at the University of Essex.
As many as one in five Indian Muslim women said they had felt unsafe or had avoided certain public places in the last year for fear of being harassed, according to the study.
“The study shows that harassment is not a defensive fantasy in the mind of some but rather a genuine harm that affects innocent people each day,” the Guardian quoted Saggar as saying.
The study’s authors said their work had confirmed a substantial association between ethnic and racial harassment and a deterioration in mental health. They also found that harassment tended to be persistent.
Almost one in three people who has experienced harassment will experience it again two years later, they suggested.