All hate incidents should be reported to ensure the police and other agencies know the extent of the problem and can take steps to combat it, support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
Victims of hate crimes may worry about the police contacting them at home, particularly if they have been repeatedly targeted near their home. If this is the case, they can ask the police to contact them through someone they trust and agree to provide their details, such as their local Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator.
Hate crimes and incidents can be reported to the police in several ways:
- Phone 101, or textphone 18001 101, or if it’s an emergency or someone’s life is at risk, call 999
- Visit a local police station - details of local police stations can be found on the Police.UK website
- Use the police online reporting form
Other ways to report hate crime are:
- Stop Hate UK: Stop Hate UK 24-hour helpline - available in 45 languages also provides advice for professionals 0800 138 1625. Stop Hate UK has recently launched Call Hate Out - a confidential 24-hour support service for young people under 18 experiencing or witnessing a Hate Crime that advises and supports those affected by or witnessing Hate Crime towards young people under 18 in some regions of the UK. Check here for the areas covered and how to report and access their support services in these areas.
- Crimestoppers: Anonymously to CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 or online
- True Vision: Hate incidents or crimes can also be reported online on the True Vision website where an easy read reporting form can also be completed. Completed reporting forms are sent directly from the True Vision website to the local police force. Hard copy self-reporting forms can also be printed off, completed and sent to the local police force by the person reporting the incident.
- Citizens Advice: Citizens Advice Bureaux offer help and support with reporting hate incidents.
When reporting the incident or crime, it is crucial that the victim, or other person reporting the incident, makes it clear whether they think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice toward the victim because of their disability, race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or a combination of these things. This is important because it ensures the police can record and investigate the reports as a hate incident or crime.
Some people may experience one isolated incident of hate crime, but often they will suffer repeated, constant and sometimes daily abuse by the same person group of people or different people. This may qualify as harassment and is unlawful.
Incidents near home
Many hate incidents happen near the victim’s home. Victims may be repeatedly harassed or intimidated by neighbours or people, for example, throwing rubbish into their garden or damaging their property. In addition to reporting these incidents to the police, victims can also ask their local authority or landlord to take action under their anti-social behaviour powers. Victims can also take civil court action to get compensation and an order to stop the perpetrator from continuing with the behaviour under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Incidents at schools
When school bullying, including cyberbullying, is motivated by hostility or prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because the victim is transgender, it can be a hate crime bullying. Bullying in itself is not a criminal offence, but if it’s severe enough, it could also be a hate crime. All UK schools have a duty of care, which includes protecting children from harm from bullying and are required to have an anti-bullying and equality policy. If a child experiences bullying at school, the school should deal with it and co-operate with the police and social services if they become involved.
If a person has difficulty speaking or understanding English, they are likely to need an interpreter when they make their report. They can either ask the police to provide an interpreter, ask a friend or relative to interpret for them or approach a local advice organisation such as the Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance.
Police recorded hate crimes
At the end of the year ending March 2021, there were 124,091 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales. Excluding Greater Manchester police, which did not supply data for 2020, this figure demonstrates an increase of 9 per cent compared with the year before. The majority of hate crimes were racially motivated, accounting for around three-quarters of offences.
The increases in police recorded hate crime have been driven by improvements in recording and increased awareness of what constitutes a hate crime; however, the year-on-year increase cannot be attributed to improvement in systems and processes alone and there have been spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the EU Referendum, the terrorist attacks in 2017, and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
These figures are stark considering that hate crime is ‘chronically’ underreported across the five strands.
Stop Hate UK has more information on hate incidents www.stophateuk.org
The University of Leicester’s Hate Crime research uncovered new insights into the nature and forms of these acts and their impact upon victims, families and wider communities.