Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Saved! Access Favorites in your account profile. Removed from my favorites

Hate Crimes Are Officially On The Rise Since Brexit

Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.
Most of us were shocked by the spate of xenophobic and racist crimes against immigrants reported immediately after the EU referendum. But the trend persists and risks becoming the new normal, with some groups reportedly being affected more than others, new figures show.

There have been dozens of cases of hate crime and abuse against European citizens living in the UK, according to a survey of European embassies conducted by The Guardian, and most of the crimes have targeted people from eastern Europe.

Poles have been the worst affected group, with more attacks recorded against them than all other nationalities put together, The Guardian reported.

There have been 31 incidents of hate crimes against Polish people recorded since the EU referendum on the 23rd of June, eight of which happened in the last three weeks. One such case was the high-profile unprovoked killing of Arkadiusz Jozwik, 40, in Essex in August.

Many of the recorded incidents were also against people who the attackers wrongly believed to be Polish. One Finnish woman was told "Poles go home" when she was overheard talking in Finnish, the Finnish embassy in London said.

In total, there were 60 cases of hate crime recorded by the 17 European embassies that replied to The Guardian's survey. These ranged from an arson attack on a Romanian shop in Norwich in July to shots being fired at a Lithuanian home in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, this month.

There were no reported attacks against citizens of western European countries, according to the embassies of countries including Spain, France and Germany.

The Polish ambassador to the UK, Arkady Rzegocki, said he was "saddened" by every incident, adding that the Polish community "may be statistically an easier target of xenophobic abuse" than other groups because it is the largest national minority in the UK.

Poles recently overtook Indians to become the largest immigrant group in the UK.

Rzegocki added: "We recognise and appreciate the show of solidarity from the British public and the decisive steps taken by the British government and local authorities to resolve the problem. We need to work together to foster dialogue and mutual understanding between communities.”

Jon Burnett, a researcher at the Institute of Race Relations, said the rise in attacks against eastern Europeans is linked to the way they have been "portrayed repeatedly as scroungers, cheats and, ultimately, threats," reported The Guardian.

"This depiction, which intensified in the build-up to the referendum, of course predated it. The hate crimes are a product of a politically constructed climate which has been years in the making,” he added.