What are hate incidents and hate crimes?
A ‘hate incident’ means any actions or words that are targeted at a person because of someone’s hostility or prejudice towards an aspect of the victim’s identity or characteristics. This could be because of someone’s disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or transgender status, or another part of their identity which is important to them. When the actions or words also amount to a criminal offence, we call it a ‘hate crime’.
Anyone could be a victim of a hate incident or hate crime, and these are not defined by the intentions of the perpetrator. Instead, if the victim or person witnessing it believes or perceives that an incident was motivated by prejudice or hostility towards an aspect of the victim’s identity or characteristics, such as their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or transgender status, then it is treated and recorded as a hate incident.
Hate incidents and hate crimes take many forms, including abusive words, physical attacks, online comments, damage to property, bullying, or a campaign of harassment. Racism, homophobia, transphobia and targeting someone because of their religion are all examples of hate incidents and potentially hate crimes.
Hate incidents and hate crimes online
Hate incidents and hate crimes are not just things that happen in the outside world – they can happen online, too. In fact, this is becoming an increasing concern and it is something we need to challenge.
Common examples involve comments on social media that negatively target a person or a group because of their race, nationality, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, or because they are transgender. Derogatory comments, racist language, homophobic or transphobic comments, abusive language towards (or about) a person, or using negative stereotypes about a person or group – these can all cause you to feel upset, distressed and even angry. You might see these comments on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media site. You might also see them in the ‘comments’ section on news articles.
You don’t have to put up with them, even if they don’t directly target you. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have a way for you to quickly and easily report the person who made the comment, and it is important that you do this to help stop further damaging behaviour.
You can also report comments to our Hate Incident Support Service at Victim Support. We have dedicated, professional and understanding people there who can offer you free, confidential emotional and practical support if you feel that you need it. They can also help you to report the online hate incident to the right people and help us to stop it happening again.
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
• Phone: 0808 168 9274 – this is a Freephone number.
Don’t put up with online hate – report it!