Islamophobia Response Unit University Volunteering Programme The Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU) was founded by Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) in response to rising anti-Muslim attacks across Europe and a growing tide of anti-Muslim sentiment. The IRU is a platform for victims of Islamophobic abuse to report and share their experiences. Since opening in 2017, we have received over 800 cases. The IRU serves four main functions: 1) Provision of free legal guidance 2) Data collection and monitoring 3) Provision of basic emotional support, and 4) Referrals to partner agencies and signposting to other services. Types of IRU cases 1) Discrimination • discrimination and victimisation in the workplace • lack of prayer room facilities • restrictions on Islamic clothing at work and in schools 2) Hate crime • physical assault • verbal abuse • harassment • criminal damage The above is a non-exhaustive list. How do victims report to the IRU? 1) Online reporting page 2) Helpline: 020 3904 6555 3) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Our admin support staff will make first contact with the victim and will usually complete a ‘Case File’ document, summarising the facts of the case. Once we establish what type of case it is and have determined our remit – we allocate the case to a caseworker who will be paired with a legal supervisor. Caseworkers are the victim’s main point of contact and complete initial research with the support of their legal supervisors who oversee any correspondence and advice that is sent out. Note: the IRU only engages in unreserved legal activity. We cannot provide formal legal representation but can help determine any legal recourse each client may have. Sometimes we receive reports from clients who have already entered litigation proceedings which unfortunately, we do not have the remit to assist with. We do however, try our best to provide guidance to our clients where possible. This can sometimes take the form of reviewing court applications, attending hearings for emotional support, explaining legal processes where possible or signposting to partner organisations such as Citizen Advice Bureau’s Witness Service, HackedOff (for media related issues), Muslim Youth Helpline (for counselling support) or our partner law firms for pro bono advice. How is the IRU structured? We have four IRU staff members employed by MEND including, our Head of Legal, Senior Caseworker, Junior Caseworker and Administrative Coordinator. We have 18 volunteer legal supervisors (qualified lawyers from various practice areas across the UK) and 33 volunteer caseworkers (usually law or criminology students). All casework is conducted remotely and clients are supported via email or telephone - not in person. How can I become an IRU caseworker? • Stage 1: Any undergraduate student in their second or third year, or graduates can become a volunteer caseworker by emailing us at email@example.com with a curriculum vitae and personal statement of why they wish to join the IRU. • Stage 2: We will arrange telephone interviews with each applicant. The second stage will require applicants to provide a copy of their DBS certificate and two references. • Stage 3: Applicants will be invited to complete the compulsory IRU caseworker training programme which comprises of a series of pre-recorded lectures and a live case study assessment. What does the IRU caseworker training programme entail? It is a compulsory requirement for all caseworkers to complete the IRU training programme. This is a comprehensive online programme consisting of three courses which will equip all attendees with the requisite knowledge to become a successful caseworker. Course 1: Role of a caseworker 1) Introduction to IRU 2) Remit of a caseworker 3) Core legal and soft skills 4) House Style Course 2: Hate crime 1) Overview of the definition of hate crime/legislation 2) Overview of the police investigation process 3) Understanding when and how to make a complaint about a police officer and challenging closed cases 4) Overview of court process and sentencing guidelines Course 3: Discrimination 1) Equality Act 2010 2) Employment 3) Education 4) Housing Following completion of the online lectures, IRU staff will conduct a live case study assessment where attendees will apply their knowledge acquired to two IRU case studies. During the session, attendees will work in breakout groups to discuss legal solutions as IRU caseworkers with their peers before presenting their answers to the assessment coordinator. Upon successful completion of the training programme, caseworkers are required to create a designated IRU email address. IRU staff will provide the newly onboarded caseworkers with the IRU Caseworker Handbook and Legislation Manual which must be read and understood before being paired with a legal supervisor for case allocation. If you would like to apply to become an IRU volunteer caseworker or have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.