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What are Hate crime and hate incidents?
In most crimes it is something the victim has in their possession or control that motivates the offender to commit the crime. With hate crime it is ‘who’ the victim is, or ‘what’ the victim appears to be that motivates the offender to commit the crime.
A hate crime is defined as ‘Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.’
A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported and recorded by the police.
Evidence of the hate element is not a requirement. You do not need to personally perceive the incident to be hate related. It would be enough if another person, a witness or even a police officer thought that the incident was hate related.
Types of hate crime
Hate crime can fall into one of three main types: physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.
Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it. Depending on the level of the violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.
Verbal abuse, threats or name-calling can be a common and extremely unpleasant experience for minority groups.
Victims of verbal abuse are often unclear whether an offence has been committed or believe there is little they can do. However, there are laws in place to protect you from verbal abuse.
Even if you don’t know who verbally abused you, the information could still help us to improve how we police the area where the abuse took place.
Incitement to hatred
The offence of incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. That could be in words, pictures, videos, music, and includes information posted on websites.
Hate content may include:
- messages calling for violence against a specific person or group
- web pages that show pictures, videos or descriptions of violence against anyone due to their perceived differences
- chat forums where people ask other people to commit hate crimes against a specific person or group
How to report a Hate Crime
Report hate crime by:
- Calling non emergency police on 101
- In an emergency always call 999
- If you’d prefer to speak to an officer in person, the police can provide a safe and comfortable environment.
- You may also receive assistance from a specially trained PCSO as part of the reporting process.
Alternatively, you can report via:
If you do not want to report directly to the police you can submit an online form to True Vision. This can be completed anonymously if you require it to be.
Additionally, you can report using our casual hate crime recording tool, however please note this is not a replacement for a direct report to the police and we will not guarantee that using this method will result in a police report. However the information will be shared with representatives from the police and the local authority.