What is a Hate Crime?

You might have seen the word hate crime before but not fully understand what it means. Here you’ll find information on what a hate crime is and what you can do about it.

What is it?

Hate crime is the term used for a crime against someone based on a part of their identity.

This part of their identity could be:

  • Disability
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion or belief (or maybe the fact they don’t believe too)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Transgender identity

There are three types of hate crime:

Physical Assault

Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it.

Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse, threats or name-calling can have a hugely damaging impact on the victim, but there are laws in place to protect you.

If you’ve been the victim of verbal abuse, talk to the police or contact the link below to tell them about what has happened.

Incitement to Hatred

When someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred it can be classed as incitement to hatred. It could be in words, pictures, videos, music, and includes information posted on websites.

The penalty for a crime is more serious if it’s a hate crime.

It’s important to be aware that it’s still a hate crime if someone made a mistake about your identity. For example if you were attacked because they thought you were Muslim, but you aren’t.

What is a Hate Incident?

You might experience an incident that you think was motivated by prejudice that wasn’t necessarily a crime. This experience could be be considered a hate incident. An example of this is if someone shouted abuse at you from their car.

If you experience more than one hate incident by the same person or group of people, it might count as harassment. Harassment can be a crime.

Where can I go to report a hate crime or incident?

If you have experienced something you think might be a hate crime you should always report the incident first you can do this by:

Victim Support Scotland provide free, confidential support if you have been the victim of a crime.

In an emergency you should always call 999

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