Hate incidents and hate crimes are terms used to describe acts of violence or hostility that are perceived (by the victim or a witness) to be directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are.
They motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on the following characteristics
- race – nationality, ethnicity, skin colour and heritage
- faith – religion, belief, non-religious belief
- disability – physical, hearing and visual impairments, mental ill health and learning disabilities
- sexual orientation – people who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or heterosexual
- gender identity – people who identify as ‘trans’ including transgender or transsexual people
Any act of hostility or hate that is motivated by prejudice can be classed as a hate incident. Some of these will also constitute a criminal offence, and so are therefore classed as hate crime.
These incidents can include an act of hostility or violence against a person or against property, and can includes materials posted online.
Some examples of hate incidentsinclude
- verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
- bullying or intimidation by children, adults, neighbours or strangers
- physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing, spitting
- threats of violence
- hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, hate mail
- online abuse, for example on Facebook or Twitter
- displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
- harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, or vehicle
- throwing rubbish into a garden
- malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise
Some of these incidents might be criminal offences.
Hate can cause a range of emotional responses, including fear, anger and shock. People experience mental and physical wellbeing issues such as problems sleeping, depression, anxiety. Hate hurts and no one should have to tolerate it.
A national anti-hate crime campaign, #BetterThanThat, has been backed by the government and has been launched in response to the rise in incidents after the EU referendum. The campaign is open to all organisations willing to support the fight against hate crime.