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Keeping crime down

Crime and victims

Hate crime

Hatred is the targeting of individuals, groups and communities because of who they are.

A hate crime is any criminal offence that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victim’s:

  • disability
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation 
  • transgender

All hate crime is important.  No hate crime is too minor to report to the police. Anyone can be the victim of a hate crime. We all have a racial identity, all have a sexual orientation, all have some sort of beliefs. Anyone of us could be targeted because of some aspect of our identity. Tackling hate crime supports each and every one of us.

Why do we need to act on hate crime?

Hate crime is different to other forms of crime:

  • hate crime targets people because of their identity. It is a form of discrimination that infringes human rights and keeps people from enjoying the full benefits of our society
  • research has shown that hate crimes cause greater psychological harm than similar crimes without a motivation of prejudice
  • hate crime creates fear in victims, groups and communities and encourages communities to turn on each other

How hate crime affects people

The effects of hate crime vary, but often include:

  • anger and fear of repeat attacks
  • depression and a worsening of existing health conditions, including mental health issues
  • a financial burden, for example, having to replace and repair vandalised property, or having to take time off work
  • victims changing their personal appearance, accommodation and, or daily patterns to avoid being victimised

What we’re doing about hate crime

We've published a Cross-Government Hate Crime Action Plan, which sets out how we plan to tackle hate crime and improve support for victims. We are working to:

  • increase the number of victims and witnesses who come forward to report a hate crime
  • bring more hate crime offenders to justice and obtain more successful outcomes when it is reported
  • improve responses to hate crime and incitement to hatred that occurs on the internet
  • improve local responses to hate crime, particularly where there are high levels of hate crime or a high proportion of hate crime per capita
  • consider how to better respond to hate crimes in the workplace
  • improve access to victim support

The law

There are several Acts that cover hate crime offences, including:

  • Public Order Act 1986, Part III Incitement to Racial Hatred
  • Football Offences Act 1991 (as amended)
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended by Anti-terrorism, Crime & Security Act 2001)
  • Criminal Justice Act 2003
  • Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
  • Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

More information and links to these Acts are available on the Crime Reduction website (new window).

Victims of Hate Crime

We understand that it is sometimes difficult to go to the police about hate crime. If you are a victim of hate crime or know someone who is, there are various support agencies in place to support and offer guidance. 

There are also third-party reporting schemes which allow victims to report a hate crime to the police anonymously or confidentially via a third party, like a community group or website, including:

Home Office websites