Respond to Racism | Racism. It Stops With Me

Respond to Racism

Unfortunately, racism happens.

Sometimes it appears as everyday racism, for instance a joke or a comment that is not directed at anyone in particular. If you’re looking for ways to deal with this, check out our page on Bystander Action. There are suggestions for responding to racism in different situations.

Sometimes racism is directed at an individual. If you experience this, or witness it happening to someone else, there are three things to remember: 

Support | Record | Report


The first thing is to SUPPORT the person targeted.

There are plenty of ways to do this, depending on the circumstance. Our page on Bystander Action provides great advice for how to respond to racial abuse in public places.

If you are the person being targeted, you might need to seek support. If you feel threatened or in danger, call the police by phoning 000. Being the target of racism can be distressing, so you might like to talk to someone afterwards. Make sure you look after your wellbeing.

Next, RECORD the incident.

If it happens in public, video the incident on your phone if you can. If it happens online, take a screenshot. If you can’t do either of those things, it can be helpful to make some notes afterwards.

This can help authorities follow up in case the incident requires further attention. It can help them identify the perpetrator and ensure appropriate action can be taken in response to their behaviour.

Finally, REPORT the incident.

This might simply involve telling someone in a position of responsibility. If the incident happens on public transport, you could tell the driver or train guard. If it happens in a public venue, you could tell a security guard or member of staff.

You should always call the police on 000 if you think you or somebody else may be in danger. You can also report behaviour that you think might be a criminal offense by phoning the police on 131 444.

You can make a complaint about racism or discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission. You can also phone the Commission for advice on 1300 656 419 04 or (02) 9284 9600. 

If the incident happens online, you can report it to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. Most social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, also handle complaints about offensive content.