Hatred is a strong term that goes beyond simply causing offence or hostility. Hate crime is commited against a person or a property because of an offenders hatred to someone because of their disabilty, gender or gender identity, race or religion or sexual orientation.
Hate crime is any incident which constitutes a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to to be motivated by prejudice or hate. Hate crime can take many forms including:
physical attacks including assault, damage to property, graffiti and arson
threat of attacks including offensive letters, abusive or obscene phone calls and malicious complaints
verbal abuse or insults including offensive leaflets and posters, abusive gestures and bullying in the school or workplace
Any incident which may or may not be a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person as motivated by prejudice or hate. All hate crimes are hate incidents. Some hate incidences such as name calling in a non-confrontational situation may not constitute a criminal offence and therefore will not be recorded as a hate crime.
There is no legal definition of a disability hate crime. In their policy for Prosecuting Cases of Disability Hate Crime the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) define it as 'any criminal offence, which is pervceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudiced based on a person's disability or perceived disability.'
There is no legal definition of a homophobic or transphobic hate crime but is defined by CPS in their Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime as 'any incident which is perceived to be homophobic or transphobic by the victim or any other person.'
The definition is wide and covers all incidents which are felt to be homophobic or transphobic by anyone involved in them, including the perpetrator, or by anyone who witnesses them.
There is no single offence of racist or religious crime. There are a number of offences where if an element of racial or religious aggravation can be proved the offender is likely to receive a higher sentence.
In addition to this the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 created new offences of inciting hatred on racial or religious grounds. It also removes the power of citizen’s arrest where such offences are concerned and arrest must now be made by a police officer.
In their policy on Prosecuting Cases of Racially and Religiously Aggravated Crime the CPS define racial and religious hatred as 'any criminal offence which is perceived to be motivated by hostility towards a person's race or religion or perceived race or religion, by the victim or any other person.'
Safety and security and the right to live free from fear and harassment are basic human rights. The CPS's policy is to prosecute any hate crime fairly, firmly and robustly.
Hate crime such as racist, homophobic, religious or transphobic incidents should not happen, but they still do. Nobody should suffer because of who they are and nobody should put up with it. You can do something about it. We have set up a third party reporting system where you can report racist and homopobic incidents called ARCH.