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What is hate crime?

Don't be afraid, speak up - silence hides hate

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Hate Crime is any criminal offence committed against a person that is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone because of:

It’s important to know that you don’t have to have a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. You don’t have to be gay to have had homophobic abuse shouted at you. You may not be part of a religion but still have someone target you because they think you are. Anyone can be a victim of a hate crime.

In every case it’s important that you report the incident. By reporting them when they happen to you, you may be able to prevent these incidents from happening to someone else. We can only take action against hate crimes when we have a true picture of what is happening.

What counts as a hate crime?

Any criminal offence can be a hate crime if it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or an individual characteristic such as alternative subculture.

However, there are many hate incidents that fall short of being a criminal act and are therefore not a criminal offence, but are still perceived by the victim to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice. These are called Hate Incidents and it is still important to report these to the police or another agency.

When you report you can get access to the support and advice you need.

Hate incidents could include:

  • Verbal abuse such as name calling or offensive jokes
  • Bullying or intimidation by children, adults, neighbours or strangers
  • Hoax calls, offensive phone or text messages
  • Online abuse such as abuse over social media

Hate incidents still have a devastating impact on the individual and the wider community. If you’re unsure whether what you’ve experienced is a hate crime or hate incident, it’s vital that you still report it.

Don't be afraid, speak up - silence hides hate

report hate now