Hate crime services
The most recent police figures (October 2016) suggest that hate crime is on the rise, with 62,518 hate crimes recorded by the police in 2015-16, an increase of 19% on the previous year (52,465).
What is hate crime?
Hate crime is any crime where the offender targets a person or community because of the victim’s personal characteristics (or when an offender assumes that their victim comes from a particular group or community).
Victims of hate crime are usually targeted because of their perceived:
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity.
However, any crime or incident motivated by bias or prejudice against a person’s identity, such as targeting of alternative subcultures, can be considered a hate crime.
Who is most affected by hate crime?
Hate crime often affects the most vulnerable people, which makes it harder for them to seek help. Many victims feel that they can’t tell anyone about what is happening to them, and end up suffering in silence. This damages people’s self-esteem and can affect whole communities. Victims may also not tell the police because they aren’t confident in the criminal justice system.
About a quarter of hate crime prosecutions collapse because the victim thinks the justice system won’t support them. People or communities affected by hate crime may already feel excluded from mainstream society, and hate crime can deepen feelings of isolation.
How VS helps
As victims can retreat into their communities, we work in partnership with many community groups and hate crime specialist agencies to build confidence and let isolated people know that they don’t have to suffer alone. We provide a wide range of support services that we can tailor to specific cases. This includes work with ‘third party reporting centres’, which enable victims to report a crime without having to deal directly with the police. So, as well as supporting the direct victims, we’re working hard to inform, educate and prevent hate crime from damaging communities.