Hate crimes are any crimes (actual criminal offences) that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person's:
- Disability: The Equality Act 2010 (EA) generally defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long - term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The definition of disability hate crime would include anyone who was targeted as a result of his or her disability or impairment, as defined by the EA, including those diagnosed with HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis;
- Race or ethnicity;
- Religion or belief;
- Sexual orientation;
- Transgender identity.
This can be committed against a person or property.
A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals could face additional concerns around homophobia and gender discrimination. There may be concern that individuals would not be recognised as victims or be believed and taken seriously.
Abusers may also control their victims, threatening to 'out’ them to friends, family or support agencies.
Hate incidents include actions that do not constitute a criminal offence. However such incidents can feel like crimes to those who suffer them and often escalate to crimes or tension in a community. The police can only prosecute when the law is broken but can work with partners to try and prevent any escalation in seriousness.
Hate crime and incidents may involve physical attacks, verbal abuse, domestic abuse, harassment, damage to property, bullying or graffiti.
A national organisation called Safety Net helps local agencies develop systems to tackle Mate crime. For further information please see the Arc Safety website http://arcuk.org.uk/safetynet/
For more information on Hate Crime visit the Government website (Hate Crime) https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/reducing-and-preventing-crime--2/supporting-pages/hate-crime
For more information on Disability Hate Crime and on the way the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes such crime visit the CPS website (Disability Hate Crime) http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/disability.html