What’s it all about?
From mid-March this year, a number of Australians sleeping rough in the vicinity of Sydney’s Central Station were violently assaulted by at least two men described as large with tattoos, Caucasian, and wearing clothing adorned with swastikas.
The men particularly targeted Aboriginal people, young and old.
This is a hate crime, not only against the Aboriginal population but against the poor.
On several occasions during the daytime they’ve been seen parked across the road from the Eddy Avenue tunnel outside the station and in Belmore Park, doing what was described by one man as “staring down” Aboriginals.
At least one man, who was victim to the attacks, told homeless outreach services that if more people didn’t get into shelter “someone’s going to get killed.” Despite this, he couldn’t be housed and is still on the streets now, fearful for his life.
When this information was passed on to the Surry Hills Police Station, the officer on duty said that they couldn’t investigate if the victim themselves doesn’t report the crime.
For a variety of reasons, both Aboriginal Australians and homeless Australians are statistically far less likely to report crimes that the rest of the population. They are also far more likely to be victims of crimes.
Because of the barriers to reporting and recording crimes against homeless Aboriginal Australians in particular, it’s likely that the incidences of racially motivated attacks on this group are far, far higher than we’re aware of.
Even when people are made aware, there’s a tendency for problems in the homeless community to be treated as economic and social issues rather than criminal.
This is not good enough. We cannot allow our Police to stand by and allow hate crimes to be committed with impunity in the middle of our city. Stand up for people at risk and tell our decision makers we want justice.
13 April 2021