Acts of discriminatory violence, which target people because they belong, or are perceived to belong, to population groups that have a common characteristic such as their ethnic origin, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation, a disability, their age, their language, or the fact that they are homeless, are different from other crimes. Not only do they have a traumatic effect on the victims’ physical and mental health, but they also send a message to whole groups or communities, threatening them with violence and denying them the right to participate in society.
Such acts create fear and hostility far beyond the local environment, and even those that seem isolated can potentially trigger large-scale tensions and conflicts. Furthermore, discriminatory violence directly undermines the founding values of democracy, social cohesion and citizens’ security as stated by the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. Such violence has a devastating impact on many levels.
In its 2017 Security, Democracy and Cities Manifesto, Efus recommends that strategies to prevent and fight against discriminatory violence be ‘fully integrated’ into overall urban security strategies, and that local and regional authorities ‘play an active role in the fight against discrimination, based on the legal and political frameworks defined by European and national governments’. Efus also recommends increasing the diversity of local and regional authority staff and improving cooperation with legal and law enforcement authorities in order to provide better care to victims.
Projects on the prevention of discriminatory violence in sport
For more than 20 years, Efus has been leading or taking part in projects that seek to prevent discriminatory violence in professional and amateur sport. Indeed, incidents of violence and discrimination in sport have a significant impact on social cohesion because of sport’s huge popularity, especially in the case of football. On the other hand, sport is also an efficient channel to convey civic values of tolerance and respect because so many people take part in it, particularly children and young people. This is why Efus has worked for many years to support local and regional authorities that host sports events in participating in preventive and educational initiatives in amateur sport that promote tolerance and non-discrimination. Efus has thus led or participated in projects on: preventing racism on the occasion of the Euro2000 football tournament; preventing violence stadia; collecting and disseminating local practices of prevention through sport in Europe, and preventing discriminatory violence in amateur sport. These projects are:
MATCH SPORT (Make Amateur Sport Tolerant by Eliminating Racism and Discrimination) (2019-2020)
Discover the actions implemented in communities across Europe through our summary documents, which present the key elements of each of these initiatives, including their context, objectives, activities, budget, evaluation. All of our practice and summary sheets can be found on Efus Network.