Hate Crime Awareness


Hate incidents and hate crimes occur when an individual is subjected to hostility or prejudice by another person because of either their race, faith, disability, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These five ‘strands’ are known as ‘Protected Characteristics’.

Hate incidents and crimes can take many forms and may cause considerable distress, not only for victims but also for their families, friends, and wider communities. It is important to report each incident so that the victim can access support, and agencies can work together to stop them happening again.

Did you know… Any type of crime can be a hate crime – This is because when someone commits a crime, it is the motivation behind their actions which may make it a ‘hate crime’.

Example – Any individual who has been assaulted is a victim of crime and should be supported accordingly. If the offender shouts homophobic abuse before assaulting someone – this becomes a hate crime, as well as an assault.

Did you know… Where there is evidence that a person has been targeted because of their protected characteristic(s), a judge can increase the offender’s sentence.

Did you know… You don’t have to have one of the protected characteristics to be a victim of a hate crime? If, for instance, you are abused because someone thinks you are gay or that you have a particular faith, it doesn't matters whether their assumptions are accurate – it can still be treated as a hate crime.

How do I report it?

There are two reporting options for victims and witnesses:

1. Hate Incident Support Service
In West Sussex, you can use an online form to report a hate crime or incident. The details will go to our commissioned Hate Incident Support Service, where the information you provide will be reviewed by Case Workers at Victim Support. If a significant concern arises, then Victim Support may need to contact other professionals to reduce the risk.

Schools and other services should use this form to report hate incidents.

You may prefer to do this if:

  • you are unsure whether the incident constitutes a criminal offence,
  • you wish to remain an anonymous victim or witness,
  • you want someone to be aware of what has happened but without the need of support,
  • you or someone else need support but do not have enough information or evidence to go through the Criminal Justice System,
  • you don’t wish to report to the police at this time.

Please note: West Sussex County Council and Victim Support are not emergency services. If someone is in danger, please call 999 or Text Phone 18000

2. The Police

Emergency - If you believe that you or someone else is at risk of harm, you should report to the police by dialling 999. If you have difficulty speaking or hearing, a Text Phone is available on 18000. In this instance, the details about what happened can be gathered when everyone is safe.

Non-Emergency - You may wish to report a hate crime to the police in a non-emergency, and you can do this by dialling 101. If you have difficulty speaking or hearing, a Text Phone is available on 18001 101 or you can report online via the Sussex Police website. When you report on 101, try to be clear about what has happened, and what was said. If you believe that someone has targeted you because of your race, faith, disability, illness, sexual orientation or gender identity – make this clear in your report.

What happens next?

If you have reported to the Hate Incident Support Service, either direct, or through the West Sussex County Council website, you should expect to hear back from them within a few days of sending the report. An Initial Response Officer or Case Worker will contact you to ask some questions and can help with the following; safety planning, practical support, emotional support, and advocacy. This support may be over the phone, via email, text, or face-to-face.

Police - As a victim of crime, you have the right to be informed of what action will be taken to:

a) ensure your safety,

b) gather evidence,

c) to identify the perpetrator,

d) to forward your case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

For more information on your rights as a victim of crime see The Victims Code of Practice

The response you receive from the police, and the time taken, will be dependent on what you have reported and how you reported it. It is advisable to request your ‘Crime Reference Number’ when you report, so that you can relay this if you need to call again.

Talking about Racism

What is racism? 

A complex set of attitudes and behaviour towards people because of their ethnicity, skin colour or nationality. 

Often this is based on:

  • a belief or ideology that differences in physical/cultural characteristics (skin colour, language, dress, religious practices etc.) dictate differences in personality, intelligence or ability, which lead to assumptions about racial superiority and inferiority. 
  • the social or economic power of members of one ethnic group to promote, enforce or ‘act out’ such attitudes.

(Adapted definition from Toolkit for Tackling Racism by Stella Dadzie)

Racism comes in many forms and is not just about hate crimes or individual acts of discrimination; the most powerful forms of racism are those that are part of societal structures and influence our everyday assumptions, even appearing normal and unremarkable. 

Racism includes a range of things we think (prejudices, assumptions, stereotyping, fears, beliefs etc) and we do or say (discrimination, hate crimes, jokes, slurs, extremism). 

Racism is not always obvious and something we may view as inoffensive can be significantly offensive to someone else because their experience of or association with that language or behaviour is different.  If that happens, it’s always important to try to understand the other person’s perspective rather than seeking to impose views or becoming defensive.

Below are some of the forms of racism along with some suggestions of what can be considered to challenge them constructively.


This is the belief that someone’s behaviours, abilities or lack of ability are ‘naturally’ linked to skin colour, ethnicity or nationality. This has been used historically, along with Scientific Racism/biological racism to support and legitimise significant acts of racism and dehumanisation like the Transatlantic slave trade, the Holocaust and, discredited, views that there is a hierarchy of ‘races’.

Racialisation includes the stereotypical belief that Black people are naturally good at short distance running. This belief suggests that our skin colour dictates our abilities and ignores the more significant impacts of environment and culture. For example, since 1968 most black 100m Olympic medallists have been from either the USA or Caribbean countries (53) compared with 2 medals for African nations (Namibia). This suggests that this success is less about the medallists being black and more about other social factors.


This is prejudice and discrimination towards darker skinned Black or Asian people. It can be perpetrated by Black and Asian people towards other Black and Asian people but is part of a broader more pervasive prejudice that lighter skin and European features are more beautiful than darker skin, and that these features even relate to intelligence and character.

This prejudice has led to discrimination towards Black and Asian people with darker skin tone whilst comparatively privileging lighter skinned people. This prejudice and discrimination can have very real impacts on self-esteem and self-image and is often reinforced by advertising, music videos and many other forms of media.

There is even a substantial global market for skin lightening products that was valued at $8.3 billion in 2018. Some of the major cosmetic companies that produce skin lightening products are reviewing these products in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and protests.

Unconscious Bias/Prejudices

This relates to perceptions of ourselves and others based on stereotypes and misinformation that have often been building up in our unconscious minds for many years developing into prejudices we aren’t aware we hold. We can often identify our conscious biases but must work harder to find and tackle prejudices we form unconsciously.

Unconscious prejudices are often developed from early childhood due to a variety of influences, i.e parents, peers, experiences etc, and impact on how we view ourselves and others, and how we behave. As they are unconscious, these biases often go unchallenged and are viewed as fact. If unchecked, unconscious biases can lead to us treating others in discriminatory and harmful ways, in an overt manner or through subtle microaggressions. 


A microaggression is often used to describe both intended and unintended regular language, behaviour or environments that attack, undermine or insult aspects of people’s identities in a prejudicial way. They are often subtle and are most powerful when normalised as part of everyday behaviour, they can even appear seemingly positive.

Common microaggression include statements like:

  • ‘I don’t see colour when I look at people’ which suggests that ignoring something we should be proud of is a positive response to diversity.
  • Asking a BAME person 'but where are you really from?' even though they have already told you.
  • Anglicising, repeatedly mispronouncing or not even trying to pronounce, someone’s name.
  • ‘I think people are too sensitive these days’ in response to concerns raised about racism.
  • ‘You don’t sound Black’ suggests a stereotypical view that Black people all speak in a certain way.

Internalised racism 

Internalised racism is often the product of societal and institutionalised racism and its impact on minority ethnic populations. When people experience racism regularly whether it is overt or subtle the effects accumulate and can lead to low self-esteem or a belief that the stereotypes associated with our ethnicity are true. Internalised racism can lead to self-hatred or hatred of others who share our ethnicity, and some may attempt to distance themselves from people with the same ethnicity.

White privilege

This describes the privileges that white people receive, whether wanted or not, that are not available to Black, Asian and minority Ethnic (BAME) people. These benefits are historic and institutionalised, appearing normal and unseen but not unfelt. White privilege does not suggest that white people do not face barriers or do not deserve individually what they have worked for, but instead identifies that skin colour can be an extra barrier to resources and opportunities, on top of other aspects of life that can restrict opportunities and maintain inequalities

Institutional Racism

Institutionalised racism happens when a range of racist practices and behaviours within an organisation exist that benefit some people and disadvantage others based on their skin colour or ethnicity. Often this happens for so long and is so ingrained, encouraged, allowed and protected that it affects the attitudes and prejudices of all who work within the organisation and how they treat minority ethnic people both within and outside. This can mean that minority ethnic people are not offered the same opportunities or support as white people and are, in fact, disadvantaged and discriminated against. It’s so powerful that people within see it as normal. This means that it is much harder to challenge than individual acts of racism, for example, racist name-calling, discrimination or physical attacks, which are often illegal. 

What can we do? 

We can learn more about the complex ways in which racism exists and permeates social norms and is bigger and more pervasive than overt racial slurs or hate crimes. Within the organisations we are in, we can check their equality policies and find out about any processes to report discrimination. What do our organisations do to create an anti-discriminatory environment? How inclusive is the organisation we work in? Is there more work to be done?

We can challenge prejudices, unconscious biases and microaggressions in ourselves and others and encourage others to do the same. We can use critical thinking skills to explore what has influenced how we see the world and what sources of information we value, pay attention to and why. We can check whether our news sources are neutral or biased. Have we checked the facts behind news stories and have we checked the same story from different sources? 

If we use a term, behaviour or statement that offends others we can listen to why the person is offended and better understand, rather than be defensive. It may be unintentional, and often we are unaware of why something is viewed as offensive but if we can take the time to understand why we will be less likely to unwittingly offend again. None of this is easy but the aim of this page and the links within is to support us all to at least begin having these conversations with ourselves, our families, our communities and work colleagues.

Videos, articles and websites that could aid discussions: 


For teachers 

We have a Services for Schools page which has access to free lesson plans and Victim Support Hate Incident Support Service posters, amongst other information.

This website features up-to-date information for schools about West Sussex services, including information on Hate Crime.

For help with logging in or using West Sussex Service for Schools, please contact your school office as general access requests can be administered by your school.

For any additional queries, you can contact the School Services team via email.

For social media

Please feel free to download these images for use on your social media channels:

See me, not only my faith - Anne Frank See me,not only my disability - Fiona Pilkington & Francecca Hardwick See me, not only my gender identity - JoJo Striker See me, not only my sexual orientation - Melania Geymonat See me, not only my ethnicity - Stephen Lawrence

For further information and resources, the following websites may be of interest:


How do I report hate crime in an emergency?

If someone is in danger, please call 999 or Text Phone 18000.



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