Traveller Movement annual national conference 2018
OVERVIEW: Beyond the tick box; the impact of institutional bias & discrimination on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities What gets measured gets done!
Inequality and direct discrimination are common every day occurrences for many in today’s society, and more so than normal for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. For the majority of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, not much has changed today when compared to historical snapshots. Health inequality figures are practically identical to what they were back in the 1980s and individual community members still report difficulties trying to access key health and other statutory services. Why has nothing changed? Internationally, there is a whole body of research on the impact of institutional bias on community relations. Institutional bias has a profound impact on how policy is developed and implemented, how services are delivered and accessed and how communities grow and develop.
The Traveller Movement know from our own direct engagement and research that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller ethnicity is often perceived as being a risk factor, resulting in institutional bias. Our 2018 report on policing found evidence that the police service has tended to view and treat many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people as instantly suspect and of a criminal fraternity. Such bias has far-reaching and detrimental consequences, negatively shaping the life paths of Gypsies, Roma and Irish Travellers everywhere. The NHS data dictionary still does not acknowledge or recognise the ethnic status of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, again with profound and far-reaching consequences; because of this, authorities are unable to fully pinpoint specific problems with health provision. The exclusion doesn’t stop there. Gypsies, Roma and Irish Traveller pupils have the highest levels of exclusion from school of any other ethnic group; GRT children are the most likely to be withdrawn from formal education and be home educated. The vast majority of GRT people report being discriminated against in education. Schools are evidently not GRT-inclusive, yet what specific and meaningful actions targeted at improving GRT outcomes are the Government truly taking under the current ‘austerity agenda’? When challenged about these institutional biases, many services go for the ‘low-hanging fruit’ approach and take an action such as commissioning a day’s ‘cultural awareness’ training, and in doing so, tick an important diversity box. What long-lasting and positive changes, if any, does this ticked box lead to for Gypsies, Roma and Irish Travellers?
How do we change this? How do we bring about a system change? How do we ensure a systemic shift? What role do we all have to play? And finally, how do we ensure policy scrutiny, robust outcomes and impact assessments that are equitable and fair? The Traveller Movement and other stakeholders will be discussing this and much more at our 2018 conference.
Booking opens on the 1st of September.
You can view our past events here.