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Hate Crime

Would you be able to identify a hate crime?

Take our short quiz to test your knowledge.


It is widely acknowledged by criminal justice agencies across the country that hate crime is underreported by victims – often because they are unaware that they have experienced a hate crime, or because they are unaware of their rights and the support available to them.

The Commissioner’s team have put together a host of information in the drop down menu below, but you can find the same information in this digital booklet or download a printable copy of the hate crime guide here.

An easy read version produced by the CPS is available here.


For a summary of the different types of hate crime as well as further reporting options and websites for advice and information, see our hate crime info card.


Celebrating Ramadan 2021

TellMAMA and British Transport Police have produced advice and tips for personal safety and for mosques (masjids) during Ramadan.

What is a hate crime?

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 actual or perceived race, religion/faith, sexual orientation, disability, or transgender identity”.

  • Race (e.g. skin colour, ethnicity, citizenship)
  • Religion (e.g. faith, atheism, targeting religious premises)
  • Sexual Orientation (e.g. gay, bisexual, pansexual)
  • Transgender identity (e.g. transgender, agender, demi-gender)
  • Disability (e.g. learning needs, mental health, physical impairment)

A hate crime can manifest itself as:

  • Physical abuse or violence
  • Verbal abuse or threats
  • Sexual abuse
  • Offensive calls or texts
  • Written/printed abuse (including offensive mail or email)
  • Indirect attacks
  • Harassment, exclusion or isolation
  • Damage to property
  • Online abuse

What is a hate incident?

In England and Wales the police also monitor hate incidents. A hate incident is recorded when someone is discriminated against because of any of the above listed characteristics, but a criminal offence has not been committed.

Hate incidents could include: Not allowing someone to enter a club because of their ethnicity, laughing at homophobic jokes, or refusing to let someone with a disability sit next to you. Just because a crime has not been committed does not mean the behaviour is acceptable, and the police still record and investigate hate incidents. In many cases hate incidents can turn into hate crime. For example, bullying can become the criminal offence of harassment.

Types of hate crime

Race hate crime

This is any incident that is perceived to be based upon prejudice towards or hatred of the victim because of their actual or perceived race. Racism is the word used to describe a complex series of attitudes, actions and words, which discriminate against people on the basis of their skin colour, country of origin, or nationality. This discrimination can be conscious or subconscious, intentional or unintentional, but is undoubtedly present in many different areas of social interaction.

Antisemitism is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is generally considered to be a form of racism.

The Traveller community faces harassment and discrimination on a daily basis as a result of negative stereotypes and deeply ingrained cultural prejudices. The Race Relations Act recognises Gypsies, Travellers and Roma as specific racial groups, i.e. Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers, and those other Gypsies and Travellers who are ethnic or national in origin and could come within the definition of a racial group.

Sexual orientation hate crime

This is any incident that is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Disability hate crime

This is any incident that is perceived to be based upon prejudice towards or hatred of the victim because of their actual or perceived disability. Disability hate crime includes any person with a mental health condition or learning disability.

Religious hate crime

This is any incident that is perceived to be based upon prejudice towards or hatred of the victim because of actual or perceived religion or belief. It is illegal to say anything or produce something to commit a criminal offence against another race or group of people. This means that leaflets, flyers or speeches that promote crime against people because of their religion is against the law. This is called incitement to religious hatred.

Transgender identity hate crime

This is any incident that is perceived to be based upon prejudice towards or hatred of the victim because they are, or are perceived to be, transgender or gender non-binary. Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. The Equality Act 2010 provides extra protection for transgender people who are treated unequally, both in the workplace and whenever you access goods, services, housing and facilities.

Cyber hate crime

Many hate crimes are now taking place online, and in addition to reporting it to the police or a Third Party Reporting Centre there are some simple steps you can take to ensure this behaviour stops. Many platforms now have guidelines and processes in place that allow you to report online abuse directly to them.

Why does hate crime exist?

Hate crimes and incidents are fuelled by a number of factors which cannot be considered in isolation. A perpetrator’s lack of exposure to diverse populations and lack of education and understanding about individuals with differing personal characteristics is a key factor in hate crimes.

Changes in the local population demographic due to increased economic migration, asylum seekers and refugees can lead to feelings of resentment due to growing demand and pressure on public services and competition for employment. Political change, national and international events such as the EU referendum 2016, attacks on specific diverse groups and terror attacks can all lead to increased hate crime as those who harbour ill feeling towards anyone they perceive to be different are encouraged to either voice their opinions or, at worst, commit physical attacks against them. Very often hate crimes are not reported to the police, meaning victims don’t receive the support they need and offenders are able to continue with their behaviour.

Hate-based crime and incidents are underpinned by underlying negative attitudes, prejudices and stereotypes, which exist within individuals and society. These attitudes have to be addressed, challenged and tackled to prevent escalation of behaviours into serious crimes.

Why you should report a hate crime or hate incident

Hate crime is rarely a one-off incident. There is usually a very small chance that a person is a repeat victim of a crime; however, victims of hate crime are more likely to suffer repeated, constant and daily abuse from the same perpetrator(s).

The effect of hate crime can have a devastating psychological effect on the victim. Hate crime often consists of a series of crimes. The cumulative effect of such incidents and crimes can destroy lives through emotional damage and long-term trauma. For victims of hate crime, the risk of attack may be constant. Feelings of insecurity can result in anxiety and a continuous state of watchfulness and an inability to sleep. The impact on a person can include:

  • Feeling isolated and vulnerable
  • Feeling as though your self-respect has been taken from you
  • Protecting yourself, but finding yourself on the wrong side of the law
  • Loss of faith in the police and criminal justice system
  • Feeling like retaliating, but fearing reprisals
  • A break-down in family relationships
  • Finding it difficult to cope
  • Having a sense of despair
  • Finding that nobody believes you
  • Feeling hated by others
  • Feeling afraid to let your children out
  • Feeling afraid to go out
  • Suffering from emotional/mental stress
  • Hating your home and wanting to move
  • Being overcome by panic or anxiety

If victims of hate crime do not report what they have encountered, government agencies and policy makers will not know the extent of the problem and won’t be able to take important steps through legislation to eliminate it. Hate crime is committed by people who do not care who suffers and to what extent. If they go unchallenged, they will continue to put others in danger. Report it so they can be caught before others suffer.

Hate crime and the law

There are a wide range of both civil and criminal powers. Some refer directly to incidents of hate crime or harassment, while others can be used to deal with nuisance or harassment where prejudice cannot be shown.

There are three criminal law regimes:

  • Racially or religiously aggravated offences – this includes assaults, criminal damage, public order offences and harassment, and can lead to enhanced sentencing.
  • Specific hate crime offences – including incitement to hatred and racialist chanting.
  • Enhanced sentencing – courts are required to consider hate as an aggravating factor for any offence not covered by above legislation, and increased sentencing is available for all five protected characteristics.

THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 – This provides a new legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. The Act simplifies and brings together existing discrimination law including the Race Relations Act 1976, the Equality Act 2006 (Part 2) and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND IMMIGRATION ACT 2008 – This amends the Public Order Act 1986 to include incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS HATRED ACT 2006 – This act makes provision about offences involving stirring up hatred on racial or religious grounds, and created new offences of stirring up hatred against persons on religious grounds. Under this Act, an offence is committed if a person uses words, behaviour, written material, recordings or programmes, which are threatening and intended to stir up religious hatred.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 2003 – Section 146 places a duty on courts to increase the sentence for any offence aggravated by the demonstration or motivation of hostility based upon a victim’s disability (or presumed disability), sexual orientation (or presumed sexual orientation) or gender identity (or presumed gender identity).

CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1998 – As amended by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. This created a number of specific offences of racially or religiously aggravated crime, which have greater maximum sentences than their non-racially aggravated equivalents.

THE PROTECTION FROM HARASSMENT ACT 1997 – This encompasses racially-motivated harassment, which causes someone to fear that violence will be used against them. The court also has the power to grant injunctions or restraining orders to prevent further harassment taking place.

FOOTBALL OFFENCES ACT 1991 – An offence is committed when a group of people, or one person acting alone, chants something of a racist nature at a designated football match. The chanting has to be threatening, abusive or insulting to another person because of that person’s colour, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin. hate crime and the law

PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1986 PART III INCITEMENT TO RACIAL HATRED – Under this Act, it is an offence to commit an act that is threatening, abusive or insulting, and which is intended – or likely in all the circumstances – to stir up racial hatred.

PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1986 – The police and the Crown Prosecution Service can take offenders to court if they are satisfied that there has been an offence against the person or an offence under the Public Order Act 1986 (e.g. using threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour), or any offence of intimidation or stalking.

CRIMINAL DAMAGE ACT 1971 – Offences under this Act can arise from racial harassment, e.g. damage to windows and doors, graffiti, etc.

Reporting to the police

The police take incidents motivated by hatred very seriously. Officers and staff are trained to deal with hate crime sensitively and professionally. But even if you don’t want the police to investigate the incident, it is important that you report it either anonymously to the police or to a third party. Only if the police and their partners know the true picture of hate crime can they put the right resources in place where they are needed most.

Not every victim wants us to take their case – evidence allowing – to court, and you don’t have to. Community Resolution or Restorative Justice offers victims the opportunity to propose outcomes that the perpetrator will be asked to comply with for the matter to be resolved out of court.

How to report to the police

  • In emergencies, call the police on 999
  • If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech impairment, a text phone is available on 18000
  • Pre-registered users can also text Hampshire Constabulary on 999
  • The non-emergency number for your police force is 101
  • The non-emergency number for Deaf or Speech Impaired people is 07781 480 999
  • Report online:

When reporting an incident to the police, ensure you:

  • Explain the situation to the call handler and provide as much information as possible as this will help the police to achieve the best outcome for you
  • Consider the safety of yourself and your family
  • Call a friend or neighbour for help and support
  • Do not challenge or face the perpetrators
  • Try to identify the perpetrators and any witnesses and make a record of this
  • Do not touch anything which might be used as evidence
  • Do not panic, stay calm and stay alert

If you report a hate crime or incident to the police, this will initially be recorded as a hate crime or incident. The police will then investigate whether a criminal offence has taken place, and whether there is enough evidence to make an arrest and pursue a case through the Crown Prosecution Service. This may involve taking statements, collecting CCTV or gathering other evidence.

Officers will try to work with you to find the most suitable outcome for your case. If relevant, the case will then go to the Crown Prosecution Service who will decide whether the case should go to court.

What you should expect from the police:

  • To be treated fairly, honestly and with respect at all times
  • To be kept informed of what’s going on throughout the case
  • To be informed of the outcome of your investigation
  • To be contacted by the Victim Care Service – unless you wish otherwise
  • To be told by the police if someone is charged for the offence
  • To be told by the Crown Prosecution Service if the charge is dropped or downgraded
  • To be given advice about applying for compensation

Third party reporting centres

It is widely accepted that hate crimes are under-reported across all strands. Not all victims are comfortable with reporting their experiences directly to the police. The reasons for this may include the following:

  • Victims find visiting police stations intimidating or daunting
  • Victims think the police won’t believe them or take them seriously
  • Individuals are unaware they are victims of hate crimes
  • Victims are not aware of alternative ways to report hate crimes
  • Lack of support to help victims make a report, e.g. interpreters
  • Victims fear being outed in terms of their sexuality or disability

Third Party Reporting Centres (TPRCs) overcome these barriers by providing an alternative to directly reporting to the police, without which a number of hate incidents and crimes would never be reported or recorded.

Commonly known as the 3Rs, TPRCs have three main functions:

  • A place to report hate crimes
  • A place to help record hate crimes
  • A place to help support, signpost and refer victims of hate crimes

TPRCs provide an alternative way to report a hate crime, give confidential advice, help you report it, and support you along the way. You can remain anonymous if you wish, and you don’t need to have contact with the police if you don’t want to.

Sam Waddington, Southampton Hate Crime Network co-ordinator, explains what a Third Party Reporting Centre is and what you can expect when seeking their advice and support:



Partnership working has led to the setting up of many TPRCs across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Download a list of local Third Party Reporting Centres
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technologies. Please contact the file owner if you need it in another format.

The Southampton Love Don’t Hate app for smart phones also lists all Third Party Reporting Centres in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and automatically directs you to the one nearest to you. The app is available from Apple and Android app stores.




You can also report hate crime via one of the following independent reporting sites without revealing your personal details:

CITIZENS ADVICE SERVICE – helps people resolve legal and other problems including harassment by providing free, independent and confidential advice.

CST – has a dedicated team that deals with anti-Semitic incidents and provides victim support, while respecting your confidentiality at all times

EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – aims to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and to build good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society. 0845 604 6610

GALOP DV – aims to relieve the distress and suffering caused to lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people by domestic violence and abuse.

THE MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN – is a national representative Muslim umbrella body with more than 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools. 0845 2626786

STONEWALL – works with a whole range of agencies to address the needs of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the wider community. 09000 502 020

STOP HATE LINE –The Stop Hate Line is a free, 24-hour helpline for anyone who has experienced hate crime. It is run by Stop Hate UK, and provides a confidential and independent service. 0800 138 1625

TELL MAMA – is a secure and reliable service that allows people from across England to report any form of Anti-Muslim abuse. 0800 456 1226

TRUE VISION – Provides advice and support to victims of hate incidents and crime, including online reporting.

REPORT RACISM GRT – is a hate incident reporting site and support service that is run by and for Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities in the UK by Herts GATE

Support for victims and witnesses

Victim Care Service

The Victim Care Service is a free service that provides support for victims of crime to cope with, and recover from, the harmful effects of the crime they have experienced. The service is available to all victims and witnesses aged four years and up – it does not matter:

  • What type of crime they’ve experienced
  • When the crime happened
  • Whether it was reported to the police or not
  • Whether they are the direct victim or not.

The Victim Care Service offers:

  • Practical Support – for example the provision of alarms, signposting or referrals to other organisations, and advice relating to Criminal Injuries and Compensation Authority claims
  • Emotional Support – talking about experiences with a trained supporter and working in partnership to develop ways to increase confidence or self-esteem.
  • Intensive Support – for victims of more serious crimes, such as sexual violence and domestic abuse, the most vulnerable victims and those that have been persistently targeted, intensive support is available.

To find out how the Victim Care Service could help you, call 0808 178 1641 (open Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 8pm) or visit:

Guidance for businesses

As an employer, if a crime has occurred you need to report it to the police.

The Police and Crime Commissioner’s team have worked with Enterprise Ltd and other local community safety partners to develop a series of hate crime guides for businesses, which contain specific advice for organisations, managers, and employees.


Information for schools and colleges

Addressing and tackling hate crime is everyone’s responsibility. This begins with educating young people about hate crime and the devastating impact it can have on victims and communities. A young person’s preconceived views, prejudices and stereotypes can be successfully challenged through early intervention and education, preventing these views from becoming engrained for the rest of their lives. The following resources are available to help support schools and colleges:

Prejudicial Language Toolkit

This is a free toolkit which has been developed jointly by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and the four local education authorities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to help support schools to tackle, challenge and address prejudicial language and behaviours within their schools (key stage 1-4).

The toolkit is broken into three parts:

  • An incident reporting form – a template to help schools to accurately record the various types of incidents where prejudicial language or behaviours have been present. This template enables incidents to be recorded against all nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act as well as other forms of prejudice which have not be listed such as misogyny, Goth culture, and economic prejudice.
  • A leaflet aimed at parents and carers – to be disseminated at the start of a new school year to help inform parents and carers about the language and behaviours which will not be tolerated in school, and expectations of them as parents.
  • A young person’s survey – to help accurately capture the level of prejudicial language and behaviours within a school from the perspective of a young person. (Download KS1 survey, KS2 survey, KS3-4 survey)

Further resources on hate crime can be found here:

Information for TPRCs

If your organisation is interested in becoming a TPRC, please contact the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in the first instance.

The team have put together two training presentations that you can access below; however, if you do want to set up as a TPRC you must register your interest with the OPCC to ensure you are linked up with the local policing team and community cohesion officer and receive the right support from the Commissioner’s team as well as the police.

Introduction to hate crime and TPRCs

Refresher training for existing TPRCs


Do I need to know everything about hate crime to be a TPRC?

No, you do not have to know everything about hate crime to provide support. As part of becoming a TPRC you will have been provided basic training on what hate crime is and how to support the reporting of hate crime. You can receive refresher training whenever needed. However, the most important thing is to just listen to the victim and show them that you care.

If my organisation provides restricted services, e.g. for students, will I have to open up my services to the general public as a TPRC?

The simple answer is no. The idea of being a TPRC is to provide hate crime support to those you come into contact with through your everyday work.

Do I need to know the law surrounding hate crime? Do I need to know the difference between a hate crime and a hate incident to report to the police?

It helps if you have a basic understanding of the fundamental legal aspects of hate crime to better explain the next steps to the victim. However, this is not essential, and you do not have to be an expert in the details of how the incident will be investigated and progressed. The victim can expect the police to explain this unless the victim has chosen not to have police involvement.

Similarly, while it is useful for you to have an idea of the main differences between a crime and a non-crime incident, this is up to the police to determine and should not affect your decision to report.

What kind of information should I submit in a CPI?

If you become aware of information which is non-urgent, i.e. a child or adult is not at immediate risk, and it is not a crime, you can submit this through a CPI.

Examples include knowing that someone is involved in criminal behaviour but you do know exact details, or becoming aware of an event which you think could impact on community cohesion or tensions, such as a demonstration.

Hate crime data

The link below provides annual national statistics (England and Wales only) of hate crimes and racist incidents recorded by police forces nationally. These statistics are reported annually by the Home Office and are traditionally released in October during Hate Crime Awareness Week.

National hate crime statistics



Will my case automatically go to court?

No. There are many options for dealing with hate crime, depending on the circumstances of the case and ranging from cautions, restorative justice, fines, or taking the case to court. The Crown Prosecution Service decides whether your case progresses to court based on a number of criteria.

Why is the definition of hate crime only for “recording purposes”?

Hate crime is a category of offences and behaviours we commonly refer to as hate crime. This is not a legal offence, but rather a grouping of offences, similarly to domestic abuse.

In practice, this means that when a hate crime takes place, the initial recording will be of a hate incident. The police will then investigate to determine what, if any, criminal offences have taken place.

Can I get support even if I do not want the police to pursue my case?

Yes. You do not have to support a police investigation to receive support. Equally, you can contact the Victim Care Service for help even if you do not want to report the crime or incident to the police. You will receive the same level of support as you would otherwise.

Why are hate crime numbers going up?

While there are certain fluctuations in hate crime numbers, including dips and peaks at certain times and after certain events, hate crime numbers have been going steadily up in the last years. While there are many reasons for this, one important reason is that people are becoming increasingly aware of what hate crime is and more comfortable and confident to report hate crime.

What is a sentence uplift for hate crime?

Hate crimes can receive a higher sentence at court because of the disproportionate impact it can have on the victim and wider community. This means that judges can increase the penalty for an offence if it was motivated by hate.

Should I report hate crime even if I do not want the police to investigate, and can I remain anonymous?

Yes, it is still important to report hate crime even if you do not want the police to get involved. You can do this by either reporting anonymously, through a Third Party Reporting Centre, or by stating that you do not want the police to investigate.

This way police will still know what is happening and can build a better picture of the local area and what people are experiencing.