A hate crime occurs when a person is targeted because of hostility or prejudice towards their:
- race or ethnicity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- gender identity
Hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment and assault and it's important to remember that hate crime can also take place online. A victim does not have to actually be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime.
Being a victim of this kind of crime can be a particularly frightening experience as you have been victimised because of who you are, or who your attacker thinks you are.
Hate incidents can feel like crimes to those who suffer them and can often escalate to crimes or tension in a community. You can report such incidents to the police, so they can work with other organisations to help prevent any escalation, but the police can only prosecute when the law is broken.
Whether you choose to report hate crime to the police or not there are a range of support services which can help you. You will see some of them listed on the right hand side of this page, or you can type in the search bar at the top of the page to find services near you.