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Hate incidents and crimes are acts of hostility or violence directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. For example, you may have been verbally abused by someone in the street because you’re disabled or someone thought you were gay.
If you’ve experienced a hate incident or crime you should report it to the police.
What are hate incidents?
A hate incident has happened if the victim or anyone else think an act was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. Here are examples of hate incidents:
When is a hate incident also a hate crime?
When hate incidents become criminal offences they are known as hate crimes. A criminal offence is something which breaks the law of the land.
Any criminal offence can be a hate crime if it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation.
Some police forces also take action when hate crimes are based on other personal characteristics such as an alternative sub-culture, eg, Goths.
When something is classed as a hate crime, the judge can impose a tougher sentence on the offender under the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Here are examples of hate crimes:
What can you do about a hate incident or crime?
If you’ve experienced a hate incident or crime you can report it to the police. You can also report a hate incident or crime even if it wasn’t directed at you. For example, you could be a friend, neighbour, family member, support worker or simply a passer-by.
When reporting the incident or crime you should say whether you think it was because of disability, race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or a combination of these things.
If you’re worried about the police not taking you seriously
You may be unsure whether the incident is a criminal offence, or you may think it’s not serious enough to be reported. Although the police can only charge and prosecute someone when the law has been broken, there are other things the police can do to help you deal with the incident. It’s best to record and report all the hate incidents you experience to help the police get the full picture.
How to report a hate incident or crime
You can report a hate incident or crime by visiting your local police station or by calling 101 (but ring 999 in case of emergency) or use the police-funded True Vision website report-it.org.uk You can ask someone else to phone the police on your behalf such as a friend or relative.
If you are not comfortable contacting the police you can report a hate incident or crime to Stop Hate UK any time on 0800 138 1625 or online at www.stophateuk.org
You can also contact Citizens Advice to help you report the incident, and you can find further information about hate incidents and crimes and discrimination in national website citizensadvice.org.uk.