Q643: What is a hate crime or hate incident?
The definition of a hate crime is:
Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person's disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity (Crown Prosecution Service).
The definition of a hate incident is:
Any non-crime incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race / religion or perceived religion / sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation / disability or perceived disability / transgender or perceived to be transgender (College of Policing).
To list, hate crimes and hate incidents are based or motivated by:
- race or ethnicity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity
For example, a person is beaten up and whilst being attacked the offender makes offensive comments about that person's believed race or ethnicity / sexual orientation / religion or belief / disability, or transgender identity.
A hate crime also takes place when the crime is motivated by the offender's incorrect beliefs. For example a person is beaten up and comments are incorrectly made about that person's assumed race or ethnicity / sexual orientation / religion or belief / disability, or transgender identity.
Other personal characteristics may be the reasoning behind certain incidents such as age and particular subcultures (e.g. Goths , Emos ), however these are not considered hate crimes in law. Offences of this nature will still be prosecuted but not specifically as hate crimes. Specific legislation allows the courts to impose tougher sentences to offenders that carry out hate crimes.
Police take reports of these incidents very seriously and if you feel you have been the victim of a hate crime you should report the matter to your local police force. Reports can also be made online via www.report-it.org.uk who in turn report it to the police on your behalf, should you not wish to report it directly.
For further information please see the links in related information.