The Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ), an independent charity which aims to work for the support and empowerment of BAME (Black, Asian Minority Ethnic) Catholic groups, has submitted a response to the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.
In recognition of GRT people being one of the most disadvantaged ethnic groups in the UK, the Women and Equalities inquiry looks into the impact and progress of 28 commitments for tackling inequalities faced by GRT communities made in 2012.
The disadvantages faced by GRT people are wide in scope, encompassing health, education and crime. Studies show that GRT women live 12 years less and GRT men live 10 years less than the general population. In 2011 only 12% of GRT pupils achieved 5 or more GCSEs compared to 58.2% of all pupils. GRT people are also vastly overrepresented in the criminal justice system. In 2014, 1 in every 20 prisoners were of GRT background despite representing 0.1% of the population.
Using evidence from CARJ’s Traveller Network and Caritas Social Action Network, the response stated:
“As the Committee recognises, GRT communities are perhaps the most marginalised communities in the UK.
While there have been a number of positive developments in some local areas, on the whole, we do not believe that significant progress has been made over the past five years in improving their situation.
In fact, a case could be made that it has worsened during that period.”
The submission makes several recommendations, including investing in extra-school support programmes, providing a reasonable number of well-maintained GRT Sites and introducing ethnic monitoring of GRT children in the youth criminal justice system.
The full response is available here (pdf).