A hate crime occurs when a person is targeted because of hostility or prejudice towards their:
- race or ethnicity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity
This includes a person’s property, as well as the person themselves and a victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime.
Being a victim of this kind of crime can be a particularly frightening experience as you have been victimised because of who you are, or who or what your attacker thinks you are.
Hate incidents can feel like crimes to those who suffer them and often escalate to crimes or tension in a community. You can report such incidents, but the police can only prosecute when the law is broken.
In order to prevent any type of escalation of the situation, police can work with other organisations.
Where can hate crimes take place?
Hate crime can take place anywhere:
Incidents can include:
Both hate crime and incidents often involve:
- abusive texts
- distribution of offensive posters and flyers in local communities
- offensive voicemails
- offensive social media content on sites such as Facebook and Twitter
The cost of hate crimes
Every year, thousands of people in Britain are victims of hate crimes.
Nobody should have to live with the fear and anxiety that this crime causes. It can also affect other people living nearby, especially if they are seen to be part of the same group in society. As well as the emotional and physical harm, victims of hate crime may suffer serious financial losses.
At its most extreme, you may be made homeless, forced to leave an area or made to feel so unsafe that you choose to move away. Other costs that you might have to bear include the cost of repairing damage, dealing with graffiti, replacing possessions and increasing home and personal security.
You may or may not have insurance to cover these – even if you do, there may be costs associated with a no-claims bonus or a policy excess. You may also have to pay for the cost of travelling to medical appointments or court, or simply to protect yourself from further attacks by taking taxis, rather than public transport.
How we can help
The effects of hate crime can last for a long time, especially if you have suffered repeatedly.
Many people find it helps to talk to someone who understands. We can help immediately after an incident or at any stage. Our trained volunteers can listen to you in confidence and offer information, practical help and emotional support, they can also help you navigate the criminal justice system and compensation claims if you choose to report the crime.
We can also give you information about dealing with a range of organisations, such as your employer and housing agencies, if you are having difficulties with them because of what has happened to you.
Our specially-trained hate crime volunteers can:
- Help you to cope with the emotional effects of being a victim of hate crime.
- Support you and other members of your family if necessary.
- Help you get in touch with other organisations that can help if there are problems we can’t deal with.
- Help you to deal with other agencies, such as the police or housing department.
- Give you advice on safety and home security.
- Organise practical help after a break-in at your home, such as repairs to broken locks.
As well as giving you information about the police and court procedures, our volunteers can go with you to the police station and to court. We can also liaise with other organisations on your behalf if you want us to, and we can put you in touch with other sources of practical help, such as people who can remove graffiti.
Help at court
If you report a hate crime to the police, the offender may have to go to court. That means you could be asked to appear as a witness. If you do, the witness service will be there to help before, during and after the trial.
Some practical ideas
If you're a victim of hate crime, remember that's it's not your fault.
However, there are things you can do that may help to reduce the risk of it happening again and they may help you feel like you are getting your life back under control, these are some of the things you could do:
- Improve your basic home security – for example by adding locks and bolts to doors and windows.
- Go one step further and install security equipment like CCTV, video intercoms or panic buttons.
- Keep a note of all incidents related to the hate crime, including times, dates and details of what happened.
- Get someone to accompany you if you decide to report the crime to the police.