What is Hate Crime?
Hate crime is a criminal offence. It is an act of hatred or aggression directed at a specific person, group or their property. It is motivated by hostility or prejudice against:
- A personal characteristic
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
This may involve bullying, physical assault, verbal abuse and/or insults, damage to property, threatening behaviour, robbery, harassment, offensive letters (hate mail) or graffiti and inciting others to commit hate crimes. The legal consequences for perpetrators can be serious and range from a fine to a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Why Report Hate Crime?
Reporting hate crime is important because it provides a platform from which action can be taken against perpetrators and for the abuse to stop. It can often lead to vital support for the victim and it can also benefit wider society by creating safer public areas.
Hate crime can go unreported for many reasons including:
- Many people do not know that they can report this kind of abuse
- People do not know how to report it
- Some people have reservations or fears around approaching the police or authority figures
An increase in reporting will:
- Provide more accurate statistics which leads to better services within the justice system and improves how hate crimes are responded to
- Challenge attitudes and behaviours that endorse hatred towards anyone perceived as ‘different’
- Encourage early intervention to prevent situations escalating
- Increase confidence for victims in coming forward to seek support and justice
- Ensure that the right support is available for those that need it
How to report Hate Crime
In an emergency, ALWAYS dial 999 or 112 – All calls are free and will be answered by trained operators. If you are in immediate danger, or to report a crime in progress, dial 999 or 112 as above.
Other ways to contact the police:
- Dial 101 to report non-urgent crimes or to make an enquiry
- Call in at a police station. You can search by postcode via: http://www.police.uk
- In incidents where the victim of a hate crime does not wish to approach the police directly there may be a police liaison officer for their region, or a Community Safety Partnership Department. Call 101 for further advice on this.
- Reporting hate crime online: http://report-it.org.uk/your_police_force
- Understandably it can sometimes be very difficult to report an incident alone. If you do not have a friend or family member to accompany you, help with reporting via voluntary and other agencies can be found here: http://www.report-it.org.uk/organisations_that_can_help
- You can also report hate crime anonymously via Crimestoppers here: 0800 555 111 / https://crimestoppers-uk.org
Always tell someone if you have been the victim of a hate crime. You can speak to a digital mentor at Ditch the Label who can help you in dealing with this. Join the community today.