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What is hate crime? What are hate incidents?


A hate crime is any criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by hatred, hostility, or prejudice towards a part or parts of a person's (or a group of people's) identity. For example, their race, religion, sexuality, gender identity, transgender status, or disability.

A hate incident is any other incident that has the aim or effect of causing distress, harassment, or discrimination that has been motivated by hatred, hostility, or prejudice towards a part or parts of a person's identity.

Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is still important that we recognise and record these incidents. For more information, click here.

The parts of a person's identity are sometimes referred to as 'protected characteristics'. The Equality Act (2010) states that it is illegal to harass, intimidate, or discriminate against others on the basis of their protected characteristics (or a perception of their protected characteristics). There are eight protected characteristics stated in the Equality Act, click here for more information.
 
In the UK, Police forces must record incidents that are motivated by hatred of the following protected characteristics as hate crimes or hate incidents:

  1. Disability 
  2. Race or ethnicity 
  3. Religion or beliefs 
  4. Sexual orientation 
  5. Transgender identity 
Northumbria Police also record hate crimes and hate incidents that are motivated by hatred or hostility towards the victim-survivors':
  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. Membership of subculture (e.g. goth)
Hate crimes and incidents can also be motivated by 'perception' and 'association'. This means that if the accused person wrongly assumes that the victim-survivor has a specific protected characteristic based on the way they look or who the victim-survivor associates with, the incident would still be considered as a hate crime or hate incident. 
 
Citizens Advice state that hate crimes can take many forms including:
  • Physical attacks such as physical assault, damage to property, offensive graffiti, neighbourly disputes and arson
  • Threat of attack including offensive texts, internet posts, abusive telephone calls
  • Behaviours designed to intimidate
  • Unfounded malicious complaints
  • Verbal abuse or insults
  • Offensive leaflets and posters
  • Abusive gestures and offensive and upsetting 'jokes'

What are the effects of hate crime?

Prejudice creates a hostile environment for all. While hate crime and hate incidents can affect people differently, if you have experienced a hate crime or hate incident you may:
  • Feel humiliated, uncomfortable, angry or upset
  • Have poor mental health such as anxiety, low mood and depression
  • Be reluctant to engage with work or studies
  • Feel unsafe on campus or in the city
  • Feel nervous, paranoid, vulnerable or stressed
  • Think about, make plans, or carry out self-harm
  • Misuse alcohol and substances
  • Feel confused and isolated
Hate crime and hate incidents are never the fault of the person who is experiencing it and support and guidance is available if you have experienced hate crime or hate incidents whilst studying or working at the University.
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