Activity 2 - Carrying out a survey regarding perceptions, attitudes, and expectations of the population regarding the discrimination phenomenon and the methods to combat it
Expected result: Assessing the level of awareness of the discrimination phenomenon (notions, legislation, effects), of identifying the opinion of the populations on persons with different social and biological characteristics (vulnerable groups) and the general perceptions on the best means to manage and counteract discrimination in the Romanian society
Expected value: A research report documenting the status quo of the discrimination phenomenon and its magnitude in Romanian society
Realized value: The survey "Perceptions and attitudes of the romanian population towards the national strategy for preventing and combating discrimination”
This survey was conducted within the predefined project "Strengthening anti-discriminatory measures at national level through large participation of professionals and civil society” carried out by the Romanian National Council for Combating Discrimination (NCCD), together with the Council of Europe (Directorate General II – Democracy, Democratic Citizenship and Participation), as a part of the programme “Children and Youth at Risk and Local and Regional Initiatives to Reduce National Inequalities and to Promote Social Inclusion” within the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014.
The research report was conducted during July-August 2015 by an independent Market Research Agency (TNS CSOP) on a sample of 1,406 respondents Interview "face-to-face."
Summary of results
• Within the surveyed national representative sample, 85% of the interviewed persons declared that they heard about discrimination phenomenon. To what concerns the discrimination phenomenon in Romania, two out of three Romanians consider it an actual problem that occurs often in Romania.
• The dominant perception regarding groups that are discriminated against in Romania refers, mainly, to people with HIV/AIDS (65%), but also to people addicted to drugs (57%) or people with physical or psychical disabilities (55-56%). More than half of the respondents indicated these categories as being much and very much discriminated against in Romania. On the next level we have the following categories: Roma people (49%), people with a different sexual orientation (49%), institutionalized children (48%), and Romanians, where they are a minority (48%). Elder people, people with no income, women, and people with certain chronic diseases are considered discriminated to a lower extent. Another way to measure tolerance towards certain groups of persons is by observing the interactions with these persons in day to day life. Using an adjusted social distance scale, where 1 is the closest relation accepted with a group (relatives) and 7 is the most distant one (to visit Romania), we can observe that there is a significantly lower tolerance towards people addicted to drugs compared to the other groups. 39% of the interviewed persons would not even accept them to live in Romania. Close by, on the next level, we find persons with a different sexual orientation, followed by persons with HIV/AIDS and Roma people. A higher tolerance can be noted in relation to unemployed people, people with no income and people with a different religion. More than half of the respondents are willing to accept these persons as their friends or in their family. More than two thirds of the respondents (67-77%) consider that the minorities have the same rights as the other Romanian citizens. There are also respondents who seem to think the Hungarians and the Roma have more rights that the majority (17%).
• The low level of education or the lack of education regarding discrimination represent the main reason that aggravates the occurrence of discrimination phenomenon in Romania. Two out of three Romanians consider that lack of education can lead to discriminative behaviors. Lack of a proper informing regarding this topic also represents a reason why people discriminate. Another important reason, mentioned by half of the interviewees, is the indifference or lack of care that people have towards other peers. Moreover, the lack of tolerance within the society (43%) combined with the perceived level of corruption (44%) create an environment that allows the occurrence of discrimination. Considering the perceived frequency, politicians are the group that is strongly associated with discrimination. Therefore, 59% of the interviewed persons consider that politicians discriminate in Romania. Another category of persons in the public area, more specific, officials in public institutions, are associated with discrimination in Romania, 46% of the respondents signaling this association. To be noticed that approximately the same proportion (47%) of surveyed consider that regular people are the ones that discriminated in Romania.
• To what the respondents are concerned, it is very important that Romania has a national strategy concerning discrimination. The main factors involved in applying this kind of strategy are the Government – through the specific ministries (89%) and the National Council for Combating Discrimination (89%). An important contribution have the NGOs that develop programs to combat discrimination (82%), but also various national agencies and directions in the ministries (for equal opportunities, for people with handicap, for interethnic relations, for Roma, etc.).