Check if you’ve experienced a hate crime or hate incident
If you’ve experienced a crime, it’s also a hate crime if you think the person’s behaviour was motivated by prejudice against you:
- because of your race or religion
- because of your sexuality
- because you’re disabled
- because you’re transgender
For example, it’s a hate crime if someone assaulted you and used homophobic language or threw a brick through your window and wrote racist graffiti on your house.
It’s still a hate crime if someone made a mistake about your identity. For example if they attacked you because they thought you were Muslim, but you aren’t.
The penalty for a crime is more serious if it’s a hate crime.
If you’ve experienced something that wasn’t a crime, but you think it was motivated by prejudice against you, it’s a hate incident. For example, if someone shouted abuse at you from their car.
If you’ve experienced abuse and you think it’s because of your age, your local police force might treat it as a hate incident.
If you experience more than one hate incident by the same person or group of people, it might count as harassment. Harassment can be a crime. For example, it might be harassment if someone on your street keeps shouting abuse at you.
If you’re not sure if what happened was a hate crime or a hate incident, you can get help from a hate crime support service.
Check what you can do about a hate crime or hate incident
You can report it the police if you’ve:
- experienced a hate crime or incident
- seen a hate crime or incident happen to someone else
It’s worth reporting it to the police even if you don’t think it’s very serious. Sometimes small hate incidents can lead to more serious ones. For example, someone might start by making offensive jokes - but they could end up hurting someone.
If you experience more than one hate incident by the same person or group of people, it’s worth reporting every incident to the police.
Getting help from a hate crime support service
You can get help and support from a hate crime support service, even if you don’t want to report the hate crime or incident. For example, they might be able to help you repair damage caused by a hate crime or refer you to counselling.
Some hate crime support services can also report the hate crime or incident to the police for you - for example, if you don’t want to go to the police. Your details will be kept anonymous and you don’t have to have any contact with the police if you don’t want to.