A hate crime or incident is any incident that may or may not be a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.
The prejudice or hate can be based on a number of factors including:
- Disability (including learning disabilities)
- Race/ ethnicity
- Religion or belief (including no belief)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity.
Hate Crime can take many forms including:
- Verbal abuse or insults, offensive leaflets and posters, abusive gestures, dumping of rubbish outside homes or through letterboxes and bullying in the school or workplace
- Threat of attack-including offensive letters, abusive obscene telephone calls and offensive comments on social networking sites
- Physical attack-such as physical assault, damage to property, offensive graffiti, neighbour disputes and arson
- So called 'mate crime' could also come under Hate Crime. 'Mate crime' is when somebody befriends a vulnerable person to take advantage of that vulnerability.
The lack of reporting is a major issue in relation to all hate crimes. Research shows that there are higher levels of hate crime taking place than are currently reported.