Any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate is a hate crime or hate incident.
What is a Hate Crime?
Hate crimes and hate incidents are taken to mean any crime or incident where the perpetrator's hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised (ACPO, 2000:13). A hate crime or incident is any crime or incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's actual or perceived social group or groups.
For the purpose of the strategy, the hate crime strands we will be focusing on are:
- Religion and belief
- Sexual orientation
However, it is worth noting that malice or ill will towards a social group can be based on any identifying factor, including the above groups, but not exclusively. Some people may experience hate crimes and incidents of more than one identifying factor, for example, a combination of race and disability factors.
It is important to note that some hate incidents may not constitute a criminal offence and therefore, will not be recorded as a hate crime, whereas all hate crimes are hate incidents.
Hate crimes and incidents can take many forms, including:
- Physical attacks
- Verbal abuse
- Neighbour disputes
- Intimidation or harassment
- Bullying at school, college or work
- Harassment by phone, text, email or through the internet (Cyber bullying)
Reporting Hate Crime
There are a number of organisations across Lincolnshire that operate as Hate Crime Access Centres. Primarily these centres facilitate the reporting of hate crime and hate incidents by directing people to the 24 hour Stop Hate line or Lincolnshire Police, who have responsibility for taking reports and can provide the immediate practical and emotional support required.
Staff within these organisations have an understanding of hate crime to a level that allows them to recognise the nature of incidents that are identified by service users, and the knowledge to signpost people to the correct services.
If you have no evidence we still encourage you to contact a centre. However, it can help an investigation if you are able to provide any of the following when you contact a centre:
- A description of the perpetrator(s);
- Details of any witnesses to the incident;
- A diary record of any ongoing incidents and previous incidents you have experienced;
- Original copies of any hate mail that has been sent to you;
- Evidence of damage to property, graffiti etc. It is advisable not to clear these up before reporting the incident, if possible.
You can report a hate crime or hate incident by calling Lincolnshire Police on 101. Call 999 in an emergency or if the incident is still happening.
Alternatively, Stop Hate UK are a national charity that provides an independent 24 hour reporting service for victims, witnesses and those affected by hate crime and hate incidents in Lincolnshire. Trained operators can provide specialist emotional and practical advice and support, as well as providing onward referrals to Lincolnshire based partner agencies.
24 hour help line: 0800 138 1625
Visit: www.stophateuk.org for further details.