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What is hate crime?

Definition

Hate crime involves any criminal offence motivated by malice and ill-will towards a social group. A hate is distinguished as being any incident that is not a criminal offence, but which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by hostility or prejudice based. 

In other words it is when one person targets another through physical, verbal or any other form of abuse and you believe this abuse has been motivated by one of the following factors:

  • Disability - involves incidents directed at people with a wide range of disabilities such as physical or sensory impairments, learning difficulties or mental illness
  • Race or ethnic origin - this is often called racism and includes incidents directed at anyone on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality or national origin
  • Religion or faith - where an incident takes place towards a person because of their faith
  • Sexual orientation - this is sometimes called homophobia and includes incidents directed at a person who is or is thought to be lesbian, gay or bisexual
  • Transgender identity - involves incidents directed at people whose gender identity differs from that of their (assigned) birth sex

The incident may relate to a person’s real or perceived identity. What is important in defining a hate incident is the victim’s or witness’s belief that the incident was motivated by one or more of the factors listed above. If so, it should be reported.