Hate Crime is a criminal offence. It happens when someone subjects someone else to harassment, victimisation, intimidation or abuse because of their race, faith, religion, gender, disability or because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.
A victim of Hate Crime doesn't have to be a member of a minority community or someone who is generally considered to be a vulnerable person - in fact anyone can be a victim.
The police use the following definition when recording a Hate Crime:
"A crime where the perpetrator's prejudice against any identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised."
Hate Crime can take many forms, and it is not always easy to identify that what has happened is actually a crime. For example:
- Physical attacks, being assaulted
- Disputes with your neighbours
- People swearing at you or making abusive remarks
- People doing things that frighten, intimidate or distress you
- Spitting, insulting gestures
If you have been the victim of a Hate Crime, you should report it. You can also report it if you are a witness or if you have been told about it by someone else. There are a number of ways you can do this:
1) In an emergency, dial 999. If there is no immediate danger, you can report the incident to the Hate Crime team at the West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000, or call into any police station. You can also report hate crime online by using the "True Vision" website - www.report-it.org.uk The Police will take your complaint seriously, and thoroughly investigate it.
2) Report it to the Race Equality Development Officer who can help in a variety of ways:
- Offer free and independent help and advice
- Provide a local view of equality issues
- Put you in contact with other agencies and act as an intermediary
- Put you in contact with others in the community who have experienced similar problems
- Support any legal action in court or an industrial tribunal
You can contact the Race Equality Develoment Officer on 01432 267307 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) The Citizens Advice Bureau can give you advice about what to do. In some cases, they may also be able to give you legal assistance and help you to bring your case before a court or tribunal.
4) If the incident took place while you were working for, or receiving services from Herefordshire Council, you should report it immediately to the Corporate Diversity Team on 01432 260216 or e-mail email@example.com.