Seeking Help With Civil Rights Issues
There are a number of government agencies that can be contacted when seeking help with civil rights issues. There are also different offices and sources of help that should be contacted depending on the rights that have been infringed upon.
Breach of Civil RightsA breach or infringement of civil rights can occur in a number of different ways. It can occur as discrimination that happens in the workplace or harassment in the form of racial insults in the street. It may simply be the case that a trader has sold faulty goods and will not give a refund. Whichever civil rights are breached and wherever this breach occurs there will be an official agency that deals with particular infringements of specific rights.
Sources of HelpIf your rights have been breached then it is important to get information that will help you proceed with the correct course of action. Agencies and authorities on civil rights issues will include:
- The Citizens Advice Bureau
- Victim Support Organisation
- The Police
- Civil rights lawyers
- Trade Unions
- Organisations such as Liberty and Amnesty International have a great deal of information on civil rights issues
- Equality and Human Rights Commission
- The Law Centres Federation
- The Office of Fair Trading
Finding the Right HelpOf course it will be helpful to contact the right agency or official for your particular civil rights issue. You would not usually contact the police over a matter of discrimination in the workplace. Agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau should be the first point of contact for help with civil rights issues. They will be able to give information and advice on nearly all the different civil rights problems that can occur. If needed they will also be able to give the names of lawyers who can help with various civil rights issues.
Discrimination and EmploymentDiscrimination and harassment in the workplace does occur with alarming frequency in Britain. The number of reported discrimination cases may have dropped since the government implemented anti-discrimination legislation but it has not been totally eliminated. Employers have a legal duty to investigate any cases of discrimination. Managers and Human Resources departments should always be contacted if discrimination does occur. The matter could be taken as far as an employment tribunal where the issue will be investigated by impartial judges.
Help from the PoliceThe police should be contacted in cases of harassment or hates crimes. Hate crimes will include physical and verbal attacks on another due to prejudice from the attacker. This crime is taken very seriously by the police and the matter can end up in the criminal courts. The police will have experts who are trained to deal with this type of crime and there will also be help available from the Victim Support unit. Witnesses to hate crimes should also always report the matter to the police.
Law Centres FederationIf you have encountered a problem such as discrimination then law centres should be able to help. Law centres will be able to give advice and information on how to proceed with the matter and will also have lawyers who specialise in civil rights issues. If a lawyer or solicitor from one of the law centres decides to take your case then legal aid or some other form of public funding may be available. For information on where to find a nearby law centre in your particular country contact the Law Centres Federation in England and Wales or the Scottish Association of Law Centres in Scotland.
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)The Equality and Human Rights Commission can provide invaluable information on a number of civil and human rights issues. They will be able to provide legal advice, and solicitors and lawyers will be able to give advice on the best course of action to take with the matter. England, Scotland and Wales will have their own EHRC branches. Information is available from their website or through their telephone helpline.
Obtaining expert advice and information will ensure that you are thoroughly aware of how to best proceed with your civil rights problem. Official agencies and offices exist to help with these types of problems. Contacting these offices should be the first step for anyone who has suffered a breach of their civil rights.