Hate incidents and hate crime

Hate incidents are incidents which appear to the victim or anyone else to be based on prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.  Examples of hate incidents are verbal abuse, bullying, intimidation, harassment, abusive phone calls, online abuse, graffiti and threats of violence.  Where there is overlap with the criminal law, a hate incident may also be a criminal offence and if so, is referred to as a hate crime.  Hate crime is not a specific criminal offence in itself, rather it denotes a criminal offence such as assault, harassment, sexual offences, criminal damage and hate mail, which is perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity. 

Home Office definition of hate crime: 

Any crime that is motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity can be classed as a hate crime.’     

There are three categories of hate crime in legislation: 
  1. Incitement to hatred offences on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation.
  2. Specific racially and religiously motivated criminal offences (such as common assault). 
  3. Provisions for enhanced sentencing where a crime is motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.
Antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate incidents 
Antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate incidents fall within the government definition of hate crime (as above).  However, bodies such as the Community Security Trust and Tell MAMA, which record incidents of antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate crime respectively, use different definitions.

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