A hate crime is 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; gender identity or perceived gender identity; disability or perceived disability.  Some examples of hate crimes are:

  • Racist graffiti sprayed onto your home
  • A gay male being assaulted due to his sexuality
  • A disabled person having abusive comments shouted at them whilst out shopping
  • A Muslim family receiving threats via social media
  • A Transgender member of staff receiving constant insults and abuse from customers

Any crime can be motivated by hate and there does not need to be any evidence that the offender was motivated by prejudice or hostility; if the victim or any other person perceives the offence to be motivated by prejudice or hostility, then a hate crime has occurred.

What is a Hate Incident?

A hate incident is any non-crime incident that is perceived to be motivated by prejudice or hostility.  Some examples of hate incidents are:

  • A Traveller being refused service in a pub and believed this was due to their ethnicity
  • A gay couple perceiving they have received poor service in a restaurant due to their sexual orientation
  • A disabled person perceiving that others parking in a disabled parking bay are doing so to annoy them

Types of Hate Crimes/Incidents

  • Race: Any crime/incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partially) by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race, ethnicity, nationality or place of birth or perceived race etc.

  • Religion: Any crime/incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s religion, faith or belief or perceived religion, faith or belief. This includes hatred towards atheists, agnostics and spiritualists. This also includes Sectarian hate (hatred between differing sections of the same religion).

  • Sexuality: Any crime/incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partially) by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation, either lesbian, gay or bisexual.

  • Disability: Any crime/incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability, including both physical and mental disabilities.

  • Transgender: Any crime/incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partially) by a hostility or prejudice based to a person who identifies as transsexual, transgender or transvestite and anyone holding a gender recognition certificate.

  • Alternative Subculture: Any crime/incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partially) by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s connection or membership to an Alternative lifestyle/culture. This would typically include those who identify as Goths, Emos, New Age, and any subculture which has a strong identity with distinctive dress, specific and shared values and shared music styles.

The Effects of Hate Crimes

The targeting of an individual due to their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, their transgender status or for any other reason based on their identity, has no place in 21st century society. All people should be free to live their lives without fear of prejudice, violence or hate.

An attack on someone because of their personal characteristics is an attack on the very core of that person’s humanity and can have a devastating impact on victims and their families. Even an isolated incident can have a long lasting and detrimental effect on the victim.

Victims are often afraid to leave their homes for fear of being targeted. This is supported by the fact that there are high levels of repeat victimization for this type of crime. Victims will often experience many incidents without reporting them to the police or to any other agency.