Hate incidents

If you experience prejudice or are a victim of an incident as a result of your ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability, it could be described as a hate-related incident. If you are targeted because of the group you belong to, or your status, this could also be a hate-related incident.

Hate-related incidents can take many forms: often, they can be the same as other antisocial behaviour except that they could be motivated (or perceived to be motivated) by hate or prejudice. We know that due to the nature of hate-related incidents, victims may find it difficult to report it to their landlord or the police. In some instances, perpetrators take advantage of this, believing that hate-related incidents won't be reported.

You do not have to prove that the incident was motivated by prejudice; if you, or any other person, believes that it was, then this will be dealt with as a hate-related incident. 

There is a zero-tolerance approach to hate-related issues. All hate-related incidents, without exception, are treated as serious and will be investigated.

Hate incidents can take many forms. Examples of hate incidents are:

  • verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
  • harassment
  • 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, vehicle
  • graffiti
  • arson
  • throwing rubbish into a garden
  • malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise

Our hate crime and incidents section has information on different types of hate crime and incidents, the impact of it, reporting it and support for victims.

Find out more about hate crime and incidents

Hate crimes

When hate incidents become criminal offences, they are known as hate crimes. A criminal offence is something that breaks the law of the land. Any criminal offence could be a hate crime if it were carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity, or sexual orientation.

Examples of hate crimes are:

  • assaults
  • criminal damage
  • harassment
  • murder
  • sexual assault
  • theft
  • fraud
  • burglary
  • hate mail (Malicious Communications Act 1988)
  • causing harassment, alarm or distress (Public Order Act 1986).

Find out more about hate crime and incidents