Hate incidents and hate crime
The police and Crown Prosecution Service have agreed a common definition of hate incidents. They say something is a hate incident if the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on:
- transgender identity
- sexual orientation
This means that if you believe something is a hate incident it should be recorded as such by the person to whom you are reporting it. All police forces record hate incidents based on these five personal characteristics.
Examples of hate incidents:
- verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
- bullying or intimidation by children, adults, neighbours or strangers
- physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing, spitting
- threats of violence
- hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, hate mail
- online abuse; eg: Gaydar, Grindr, Facebook, Twitter
- displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
- harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, vehicle
- malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise.
Hate crime against LGBT people in Britain increases by 78 per centsince 2013 | Stonewall
Based on YouGov polling of over 5,000 LGBT people. Click link below for full report.
Hate crime against LGBT people in Britain increases by 78 per cent since 2013 | Stonewall | 7 Sep 2017
- Hate crime: One in five LGBT people (21 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months
- The number of lesbian, gay and bi people in Britain who have experienced hate crime has increased by 78 per cent in five years, from nine per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent in 2017
- Two in five trans people (41 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months
- Four in five LGBT people (81 per cent) who experienced a hate crime or incident didn’t report it to the police
- Youth: 33 per cent of 18 to 24-year-old lesbian gay and bi people and over half (56 per cent) of trans young people of the same age, having experienced a hate crime or incident in the last 12 months. Just 12 per cent of these people report it to the police.
- BAME*: A third of black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people (34 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months, compared to 20 per cent of white LGBT people
- Religion: LGBT people of a non-Christian faith were more likely to have experienced hate crime or incident than LGBT people in general, with almost a third (30 per cent) experiencing this in the last 12 months
- Disability: LGBT disabled people are more likely to have experienced a hate crime or incident based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity: 27 per cent in the last year compared to 17 per cent of non-disabled LGBT people
- Safety in public: Three in ten LGBT people (29 per cent) avoid certain streets because they do not feel safe there as an LGBT person. More than a third of LGBT people (36 per cent) don’t feel comfortable walking down the street while holding their partner's hand. This increases to three in five gay men (58 per cent).
- Housing: One in ten LGBT people looking to rent or buy a home in the last 12 months were discriminated against. This increased to one in four (25 per cent) trans people and almost one in four (24 per cent) black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) LGBT people
- Bars and restaurants: One in six LGBT people (17 per cent) have been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity when visiting a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the last year. A third of LGBT people (33 per cent) avoid certain bars and restaurants due to fear of discrimination. This number significantly increases for trans people, half of whom (51 per cent) avoid certain venues.
* black, Asian and minority ethnic (used in the UK to refer to people who are not white) synonym BME Around 20% of the teachers are from BAME backgrounds.
When is a hate incident also a hate crime?
When hate incidents become criminal offences they are known as hate crimes - a criminal who breaks the law. Any criminal offence can be a hate crime if it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. When something is classed as a hate crime, the judge can impose a tougher sentence on the offender under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
Incidents which are based on other personal characteristics, such as age and belonging to an alternative subculture, are not considered to be hate crimes under the law. You can still report these, but they will not be prosecuted specifically as hate crimes by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Examples of hate crimes
- verbal abuse or threats
- criminal damage
- sexual assault
- hate mail (Malicious Communications Act 1988)
- causing harassment, alarm or distress (Public Order Act 1988).
What can you do about a hate incident or crime?
If you’ve experienced a hate incident or crime you can report it to the police. You can also report a hate incident or crime even if it wasn’t directed at you. For example, you could be a friend, neighbour, family member, support worker or simply a passer-by.
When reporting the incident or crime you should say whether you think it was because of disability, race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or a combination of these things. This is important because it makes sure the police record it as a hate incident or crime.
You may be unsure whether the incident is a criminal offence, or you may think it’s not serious enough to be reported. However, if you are distressed and want something done about what happened, it’s always best to report it. Although the police can only charge and prosecute someone when the law has been broken, there are other things the police can do to help you deal with incident.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some hate crimes start as smaller incidents which may escalate into more serious and frequent attacks - so it’s always best to act early.
If you’re being repeatedly harassed, should you report all the incidents?
If you've experienced hate crime, it may have been just one isolated incident. But sometimes, you may be repeatedly harassed by the same person or group of people. It’s best to report all the hate incidents you experience to help the police get the full picture. If you’re in this situation, it may be a good idea to keep a record of the incidents to help you when you contact the police.
Hate crime statistics
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2017 to 2018 | Home Office | 18 Oct 2018
In 2017/ 18, the police recorded 11,638 sexual orientation hate crimes (up 27%) from the previous year.
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2015 to 2016 | Home Office | 13 Oct 2016
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2014 to 2015 | Home Office | 15 Oct 2015
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2013 to 2014 | Home Office | 16 Oct 2014
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2012 to 2013 | Home Office | 16 Dec 2013
Hate crime, England and Wales, 2011 to 2012 | Home Office | 13 Sep 2012
Hate crime soars to nearly 100,000 incidents in a year | Huff Post | 16 Oct 2018
Man 'glassed for holding hands with boyfriend’ in unprovoked homophobic attack at Peckham Wetherspoon pub | Evening Standard | 10 Mar 2016
National Hate Crime Awareness Week: ‘I still get called p**f on the street in London' | Evening Standard | 15 Oct 2016
Gay man subjected to vile tirade of homophobic abuse: 'It's happening more and more often' | Evening Standard Wed 16 Nov 2016
Gay couple subjected to vile homophobic attacks on consecutive nights say 'it just doesn't make sense' | Evening Standard | 17 Dec 2016
Gay couple 'beaten up on London-bound train in horrific homophobic attack on Valentine's Day' | Evening Standard | 17 Feb 2017
Hate Crime Report 2016 | GALOP
Homophobic Hate Crime: Gay British Crime Survey 2013 | Stonewall
Hate Crime | Citizen's Advice
National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership | National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership
The National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership brings together 35 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) organisations from across England, Wales and Scotland. Delivered for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the partnership led by the LGBT Consortium aims to increase the reporting of Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Hate Crimes and incidents and improve the support available to those targeted.
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