The British Equality and Human Rights Commission has conducted a representative survey that measures discrimination experiences of groups with protected characteristics and explores attitudes of the general public towards discrimination and equality issues in Britain. The results of the survey were first published in a report on 11 October 2018.
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Previous research, as part of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’s programme on prejudice and unlawful behaviour, identified a lack of regular, comparable and systematic data collection on prejudice and discrimination in Britain. The review revealed that current evidence does not allow meaningful comparisons across protected characteristics or make it possible to comment on the rate of changes in the nature and extent of prejudice and discrimination.
The objectives of the survey are to address the lack of comparable and systematic data collection on prejudice and discrimination in Britain. It also aims at designing and testing a model which could be developed to form a national barometer of prejudice and discrimination in Britain. The data from the survey should inform evidence-based approaches to tackling discrimination.
The survey measures prejudice and discrimination in Britain experienced by people with a wide range of protected characteristics: age, disability, race, sex, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment across various areas of life. It was not possible to include all protected characteristic groups in the survey due the limited number of questions in the survey.
There was a process of internal consultation and prioritisation to identify which groups to focus on for this initial survey. The survey collected data from 2,853 people in Britain. This included boost samples in Wales and Scotland, and of those sharing specific protected characteristics.
The survey collected data using the random probability NatCen and ScotCen Panels (which use a sequential online and Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) data collection approach) in combination with the non-probability PopulusLive Panel (which uses online data collection).
Going beyond experiences of discrimination, the survey gauges the attitudes of the general public towards people with protected characteristics, and on discrimination and equality in general.
The survey was distributed in England, Scotland and Wales. The survey report is the first national evidence since 2006 to evaluate prejudice and discrimination in Britain across a large set of protected characteristics using a consistent set of measures.
An important feature of the survey report is its comparison of people’s perceptions of discrimination in Britain in relation to different protected characteristics to personal experiences of discrimination. For example, we are able to compare the proportion of people that felt that age-based prejudice is a serious issue in Britain today, with the proportion of people that reported experiencing prejudice based on their age.
This can highlight where the prevalence of different forms of prejudice in society are underestimated. The report identifies a set of measures that can be repeated regularly to create a consistent evidence base on the form and prevalence of prejudice and discrimination in Britain.
While the report does not apply an intersectional analysis, the survey design would allow for analysis of the protected characteristics of respondents, including intersectional analysis.
Email: correspondence (at) equalityhumanrights (dot) com