The term 'hate crime' can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
These aspects of a person's identity are known as 'protected characteristics'. A hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property. This includes abuse sent electronically and over social media.
The perpetrator could be unknown to the victim or someone the victim recognises but doesn't know, such as a neighbour. The perpetrator could also be a friend, carer or acquaintance who exploits their relationship with the victim for financial gain or some other criminal purpose.
Experiencing hate crime can be a particularly frightening experience as victims are targeted because of who they are, or who or what the attacker thinks they are. It is important for victims to know that they are not at fault.
There are support agencies available to help victims of hate crime cope and recover from the incident. As hate crimes have such a wide scope, or people may not be sure if they are a victim of a hate crime, it is important to seek advice about what help is appropriate.
The Victim and Witness Hub can help victims understand what support is available. Victims can be supported in their own language with the assistance of an interpreter.
Organisations such as Stop Hate UK can also support to victims to report and recover.
Victims can report incidents directly to the Police, or online via True Vision if victims do not wish to report directly to the Police. Anyone in immediate danger should call 999.