Kitchener-Waterloo

Report hate incidents online, by phone, text or WhatsApp with new portal

The Coalition of Muslim Women of KW said the tool allows people to document incidents involving racism, Islamophobia or Xenophobia in the region.

Tool launched by Coalition of Muslim Women of KW

The tool can be accessed online, by phone and people can even report incidents through WhatsApp messenger. (The Associated Press)

The coalition of Muslim Women of KW has launched an online reporting tool for people who witness or experience incidents of hate or discrimination.

People in Waterloo region are encouraged to document incidents involving racism, Islamophobia or Xenophobia, said the organization's executive director.

Fauzia Mazhar hopes the tool will help people understand the scope of the issue in Waterloo region and where it's happening. 

"When we have that information, we can also focus on problem solving," said Mazhar.

Once people have reported the incident, they will have the option to seek support services through the organization or through referrals.

Mazhar said people can report online, by phone, text or even WhatsApp. They also have the option to remain anonymous.

System encourages reporting

Right now, Mazhar said many incidents go unreported for several reasons. These can include distrust between police and communities and fear of victim shaming.

She hopes the tool will encourage people to report hate incidents when they happen.

"If we have an intermediary like a community agency who's able to provide that kind of service, people might be more confident in terms of reporting these incidents," she said, noting this tool can also help empower people who speak out and share their stories.

If an incident reported through the tool meets the threshold of a crime and the user provided contact information, Mazhar said the organization will reach out and ask if the person is comfortable reporting details to police. She said this option will be completely up to the user.

The initiative received funding from provincial and federal levels of government.

For more information on the tool or to report an incident, visit reportinghate.ca

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