Nobody should have to live with the fear and anxiety that hate crime can cause.
'Hate incidents' and 'hate crimes' are terms used to describe acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. They are motivated by hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity, or sexual orientation. This can be an incident against a person or against property and includes materials posted online.
Police Scotland take hate crime very seriously and want you to report hate crimes when they happen. They now recognise alternative sub-culture hate incidents. These are incidents based on someone’s appearance and include Goths, Emos, Punks and other similar groups. This means they will also record any such incidents as a hate incident.
Some examples of hate incidents include:
- 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, for example on Facebook or Twitter
- displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
- harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, or vehicle
- throwing rubbish into a garden
- malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise
When hate incidents become criminal offences they are known as hate crimes. A criminal offence is something that breaks the law. Some examples of hate crimes include:
- criminal damage
- sexual assault
- hate mail
Race and Religious Hate Crime
Racist and religious crime is particularly hurtful to victims as they are being targeted solely because of their personal identity: their actual or perceived racial or ethnic origin, belief or faith. These crimes can happen randomly or be part of a campaign of continued harassment and victimisation.
Citizens Advice on Racist and Religious Hate Crime. Citizens Advice provides further information on racist and religious hate crime.
Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime
In the past, incidents against lesbian, gay, bisexual people or transgender people have been rarely reported and even more rarely prosecuted. Research studies suggest that victims of, or witnesses to, such incidents have very little confidence in the criminal justice system.
Citizens Advice on Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime. Citizens Advice provides further information on homophobic and transphobic hate crime
Disability Hate Crime
Feeling and being unsafe through violence, harassment or negative stereotyping has a significant impact on disabled people's sense of security and wellbeing. It also impacts significantly on their ability to participate both socially and economically in their communities.
Citizens Advice on Disability Hate Crime. Citizens Advice provides further information on disability related hate crime.
Find out more
True Vision offers guidance on reporting hate crime and hate incidents. If you do not wish to talk to anyone in person about the incident or wish to remain anonymous there is an online form for reporting hate crime; you can report non-crime hate incidents to the police to try and prevent any escalation in seriousness.
Internet Hate Crime. True Vision also provide further information on internet hate crime.