Hate crime

If you've ever been abused, assaulted, targeted or intimidated because of who you are, you may have been the victim of a hate crime or hate incident.

Hate crime comes in many different forms but with your help, we can tackle those responsible and keep our communities safe. We’re here and ready to help anyone who’s been affected by someone else's prejudice, ignorance or violence.

A hate crime is when someone commits a crime against you because of your:

  • disability
  • gender identity
  • race
  • sexual orientation
  • religion
  • or any other perceived difference.

Hate crime doesn’t always include physical violence.

Someone using offensive language towards you or harassing you because of who you are, or who they think you are, is also a crime. The same goes for someone posting abusive or offensive messages about you online.

If it happens to you, tell us and we can investigate and stop it from getting worse for you or someone else.

Even if what happens isn’t a criminal offence, if someone does something and you believe it was motivated by prejudice or hate, it may still be possible to charge them with an offence.

Types of hate crime

Hate crime can fall into one of three main types – physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.

Physical assault

Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it. Depending on the level of the violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.

Verbal abuse

Abuse, threats or name-calling can be a common and extremely unpleasant experience for anyone.

If you are a victim of verbal abuse, you might be uncertain whether an offence has been committed or believe there is little you can do. However, there are laws in place to protect you from verbal abuse.

If you’ve been the victim of verbal abuse, talk to the police or one of our partner organisations (below) about what has happened. Even if you don’t know the person who abused you, the information could still help us.

Incitement to hatred

Incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. This could be in words, pictures, videos or music and includes information posted on websites.

Hate content may include:

  • messages calling for violence against a specific person or group
  • web pages that show pictures, videos or descriptions of violence against anyone due to their perceived differences
  • chat forums where people ask other people to commit hate crimes against a specific person or group

Report it

It’s not ok to be targeted because of who you, your family or your friends are – or who people think they are.

You have the right to live your life free from abuse and violence. If you’ve been the victim of a hate crime, remember it is not your fault and help is available.

By reporting hate crime, you may be able to prevent this from happening again to you or someone else. Remember, you don’t have to be the victim of hate crime to report it. You can report anything you’ve seen happening to someone else, or report it on their behalf if they don’t want to.

Always call 999 in an emergency, otherwise call us on 101.  You can also visit your nearest police station.

True Vision is a national police scheme to help victims of hate crime report the incident and get the help and advice they need. Wherever you are in the UK, if you’ve witnessed or been the victim of hate crime you can report it online via True Vision.

Further information and support

We understand that you may not be ready to talk to us about what has happened. The charities, groups and organisations below can offer support, advice and ways to report the incident without having to talk directly to the police.

Crimestoppers - a national charity with a free helpline for reporting crime anonymously.  

Tell MAMA - a national project supporting victims of anti-Muslim hate and monitoring anti-Muslim incidents.

Community Security Trust (CST) - a charity protecting British Jews from antisemitism and related threats.

Galop - a national charity providing advice and support to members of the LGBT community.

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