Statistics released today by the Home Office show that the number of hate crimes reported in England and Wales has increased by 18% over the past year.

In 2014/15, 52,528 hate crimes were recorded by the police, compared with 44,471 the previous year. Of those, 82% were race hate crimes, with others related to sexual orientation, religion, disability and transgender issues.

Over the past year, Victim Support has supported over 10,000 victims of hate crime.

Lucy Hastings, director of Victim Support, said: “Hate crime is malicious and often violent, targeting victims simply for being who they are. The fact that more than a quarter of victims have suffered a hate crime before is a serious cause for concern, so we welcome the fact that there has been an increase in the reporting of incidents.

“As a charity that has supported over 10,000 victims of hate crime in the past year, we know the devastating and long-lasting effects it has on people’s lives, impacting on their self-esteem, physical and mental wellbeing.

“We know victims, especially males, can be unsure or afraid to tell anyone what has happened but no incident of ‘hatred’ should be too small to report. People can report it anonymously online, through third party reporting centres or directly to the police. It is crucial that all victims know they will be taken seriously and supported, so that they seek and receive the help they deserve.

“Victim Support is an independent charity which offers free and confidential practical help and emotional support to anyone who has been a victim of hate crime, or any other crime, regardless of when the crime took place or if the police are involved. To find out more or to seek help, call our Supportline team on: 0808 1689 111 or visit:”

Read the Home Office report and find out more about hate crime.