What is Hate Crime?


A hate crime is one in which hate is the motive. Hate crimes are committed to intimidate, harm or terrify not only a person, but an entire group of people to which the victim belongs. The victims are targeted for who they are, not because of anything they have done. 

Hate crime comes in many forms and it clearly has a traumatic effect on the individual or group who are selected as targets for an attack, which can involve intimidation, harassment, physical force or threat of physical force against a person, a group or a property.

The main catalyst for a hate crime being perpetrated is when a person is victimised for no other reason than the fact that they are associated with a specific ethnic, social or religious sector within our society or because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, physical appearance or disability.

Hate crime is very often considered to be a bias-motivated crime and there are many instances of acts of aggression or physical and verbal attacks occurring, despite laws in place to protect people from being the subject of a hate crime happening to them.

Types of Hate Crime Protected by Law in the UK:
  • Disability
  • Gender identity/Transgender
  • Race/Ethnic Origin
  • Religion or Belief or Non-Belief
  • Sexual Orientation

  Did You Know That....

The Government is required to record and monitor the above listed categories  of hate crimes, but you don't have to be from any of these groups to report hate incidents and crimes.  

HOWEVER although not protected under Hate Crime Legislation Per Se, crimes of bias can also be committed based on the following:
  • Age
  • Alternative Subculture
  • Social Class
  • Gender

Indeed the above types of crimes don't fit the above categories as, for example, in the case of Sophie Lancaster who was murdered because she belonged to an alternative subculture. If you feel you've been targeted because of your identity, or are aware of someone else being targeted, then you should report it.  

  What sort of incidents and crimes do victims experience?  

Remember, hate incidents and crimes are defined by the perception of the victim (or a witness) and the motivation of the perpetrator, NOT by the type of offence committed. This means that hate incidents and crimes can involve a very wide range of incidents, including: 

  • Antisocial behaviour (ASB)
  • Verbal abuse
  • Abusive gestures
  • Threats
  • Vandalism and property damage 
  • Graffiti 
  • Cyberbullying and online hate, e.g., abuse posted on Facebook or Twitter 
  • Malicious communications, e.g., letters, leaflets, emails 
  • Intimidation 
  • Harassment 
  • "Mate crime", e.g., being exploited or abused by "false friends" 
  • Assault 
  • Theft 
  • Sexual assault and rape 
  • Arson 
  • Murder
All these offences can be hate crimes if they are motivated by the perpetrator's hostility towards the victim's identity.  The impact of hate crime on the lives of the victims can be very severe, even leading in some cases to suicide, as shown in the tragic case of Fiona Pilkington (go to https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/news/ipcc-publishes-fiona-pilkington-investigation-report)  and Frannecca Hardwick (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/sep/28/pilkington-inquest-victim-hardwick)

  Why We Developed A.C.T. (All Communities Together) Against Hate:

The perpetrators of hate crime use explosives, arson, weapons, vandalism, physical violence and verbal threats of violence to instill fear in their victims. Hate crime can leave victims vulnerable to repeat attacks, feeling alienated, powerless, suspicious and fearful. Other victims may become frustrated and angry if they believe that local authorities (including the police) and other groups in the community will not protect them.

When perpetrators of hate are not prosecuted as criminals and their acts not publicly condemned, their crimes can attack community cohesion like a virus. 

  Impact & affect of Hate Crimes on victims and their families:
  • Fear
  • Reluctance to leave home
  • Homes become fortresses
  • Isolation
  • Changes in routines
  • Family breakdown
  • Acceptance of victimisation
  • Loss of friends/friends do not visit
  • Fighting back/vigilante-ism - which can itself lead to criminalisation.
  Impact on health and well-being"PYRAMID OF HATE" 






The "PYRAMID OF HATE" demonstrates how ACTS OF BIAS/ PREJUDICE can turn into more serious acts of hate and the link between hate crime discrimination and prejudice.  Indeed, The Pyramid clearly demonstrates how 'less serious' acts can escalate. 


More PDF resources about hate crime

 Videos and Films Exploring Hate Crime






"A Pose Ad Esse,  Acta Non Verba: From Possibility to Actuality, Actions Not Words"


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