Hate crimes or incidents can be distinguished from other types of conduct or behaviour due to one factor: motivation.

When someone targets another because of 'who' they are or 'what' they appear to be, then they are said to be motivated by hate.

So, what is the difference between a hate crime and a hate incident?

A hate crime is defined by the CPS and Police as:  
Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.

There are five legally recognised types of hate crime based on:
  • Race
  • Religion 
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Transgender identity
Hate crimes can take place against people or property and can be committed:
  • Physically - serious violence, assaults, sexual abuse, murder
  • Verbally - threats, verbal abuse, words used in conjunction with another act, harassment, chanting or other anti-social behaviours, making hoax calls
  • Online - posting offensive messages, creating fake profiles, displaying pictures or symbols of an offensive nature
  • They may also include inciting hatred towards a person or group in person, through written publications or graffiti, or online posts via social media, forums, websites or blogs
  • Other offences may include theft, fraud, burglary,  arson, criminal damage including graffiti
A hate incident is:
Any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.

Not all hate incidents will involve a crime, but hate incidents can also be reported to the police. Also, anyone can perceive the behaviour or conduct to be motivated by or based on prejudice.

Some examples of hate incidents include:
  • name-calling and offensive jokes
  • bullying, harassment or intimidation
  • throwing rubbish or leaving waste in someone's property
  • making malicious complaints
Types of hate crime or incident

Racism or racist hate includes crimes or incidents where the hostility or prejudice is motivated by skin colour, nationality, ethnicity, immigration status, language. It can also be towards someone's perceived race or ethnicity.

Religious hatred
includes crimes or incidents where hostility or prejudice is motivated by faith and religion as well as no faith. It can also be based on someone's perceived religious or non-religious belief or faith.

Sexual orientation hate including homophobia, biphobia and transphobia relates to person's sexual orientation or perceived orientation. Hate crimes or incidents motivated by hostility or prejudice towards sexual orientation are predominately experienced by members of the LGBTQ+ community who identify as homosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, pansexual, trans, asexual and more. 

Transgender hate relates to any a person's transition or expression of their gender identity that is different from their gender at birth. Transphobic hate crimes or incidents can be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone who identifies as trans or perceived as trans.

Disability hate crimes or incidents where the hostility or prejudice is motivated by any disability or perceived disability.

Internal support

Please note this route should not be used in an emergency. If you think that a crime has been committed or is taking place, please report this to the police as soon as possible so that you can get the support that you need.

If you would like specialist support in relation to discrimination, hate crime or hate incidents or information about accessing the right services please request here with your details. In doing so, an advisor will contact you within 3 days to arrange an appointment to discuss how best to support you.

The counselling team are also available and can be contacted on 020 7873 7303 (9am to 5pm) or by email counsellor@ram.ac.uk

External support

Metropolitan Police - What is hate crime?
Stop the Hate including 24/7 reporting service, app and Young People's Resource Hub
True Vision Report-it - information and hate crime self-reporting form
Citizens Advice providing information about hate crime
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) hate crime guidance

There are two ways you can tell us what happened