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.
A hate crime is when someone commits a crime against you because of your:
- gender identity
- sexual orientation
- or any other perceived difference such as alternative sub-culture or a person's appearance.
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.
Hate crimes and hate incidents
If someone commits a criminal offence and the victim, or anyone else, believes it was motivated by prejudice or hate, we class this as a ‘hate crime’. It means the offender can be charged for the crime itself and also their reasons for doing it.
The police will consider all reports of hate incidents and crimes. If an incident takes place then please inform a reporting centre or the police. An assessment of what may constitute a breach of legislation and need to be investigated further.
If you’ve witnessed or been the victim of a crime or incident you believe was motivated by prejudice or hate, visit our How to report hate crime page. There you’ll also find details of where to get help and advice if you’re not ready to report it to police just yet.
Types of hate crime
Hate crime can fall into one of three main types – physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.
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.
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.
Broadly speaking, alternative sub-cultures are a specific group that carries a strong identity and set values and tastes that typically focus on distinctive style, clothing, makeup, body art, music preferences and/or hairstyle.
Other is used where the motivation is different from the six categories above. For example, a person is a member of the Armed Forces or has been targeted because of their body size or appearance.
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.
Stamp It Out
Stamp It Out is Leicestershire Police’s hate crime prevention campaign and brings together key partners and organisations across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to provide a consistent approach to tackling hate incidents and hate crimes.
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 using the True Vision online or downloadable form. Visit report-it.org.uk to find out more.
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.