What is hate crime?
Hate crime is the term used to describe an incident or crime against someone based on a part of their identity. The law recognises five types of categories of hate crime on the basis of:
- Sexual orientation
- Transgender identity
Hate crimes are covered by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and Section 66 of the Sentencing Act 2020.
A hate crime is defined as 'Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.' Although there is no legal definition of hostility, the everyday understanding of the word is used which includes ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike.
A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone's prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported and recorded by the Police.
Evidence of the hate element is not a requirement. You do not need to personally perceive the incident to be hate related. It would be enough if another person, a witness or even a Police Officer thought that the incident was hate related.