confused? we’ll explain everything

Hate crime can be a confusing, difficult subject to understand – but it’s important we understand it, because that’s the first step toward stopping it.


A crime is an act that breaks the law. Any crime has the potential to be a hate crime, especially if it involves one or more of these:

  • Offensive language (including name-calling and insults).
  • Abusive verbal or written comments which are meant to threaten and intimidate (including through email, social networks and mobile phone messages).
  • Physical assault.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Financial exploitation.
  • Vandalism or criminal damage to your property.
  • Sexual abuse and assault.
  • Threats, intimidation, humiliation or degradation.

It’s important to remember that a victim does not have to be a member of the group the hostility is targeted at. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime. For example, you could be called a homophobic slur, even if you’re heterosexual. 

A crime becomes a hate crime when it is motivated by hostility or prejudice on the following grounds:

  • Ethnicity or race
  • Disability (including mental health)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Religion or belief
  • Age
  • Gender
Hate Crime Victim


A hate incident is any incident (which may or may not be a crime) that the victim or any other person believes is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards any aspect of the victim’s identity. Hate incidents can feel like crimes to those who suffer them and often escalate to crimes or tension in a community. Hate incidents should be reported just as hate crimes are.

what is discrimination?

Discrimination is when you are treated unfairly because of who you are, or what you believe.

Discrimination can come in one of the following forms:

DIRECT DISCRIMINATIONTreating someone with a protected characteristic less favourably than others.
INDIRECT DISCRIMINATIONPutting rules or arrangements in place that apply to everyone, but that put someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage.
HARASSMENTUnwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic that violates someone’s dignity or creates an offensive environment for them.
VICTIMISATIONTreating someone unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment.

WHY SHOULD I REPORT hate crime and discrimination?

By reporting hate incidents or hate crime:

  • You stop it from getting worse.
  • You stop it from happening to others.
  • You help identify the offenders.
  • You make your community safer.

Anybody can report a hate crime—whether they’re the victim, someone who saw the crime, or someone the victim has told about the crime or incident. 

If someone’s life is in danger, or a serious crime is taking place, you should always call the police immediately using 999.

In all other cases, you can contact the police on 101. And make sure you say that you believe it’s a hate crime. 

If you or the victim don’t want to talk to the police, you can call us on 0800 171 2272.

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