Currently there are five characteristics that are given special protection, and are the characteristics that hate crimes can be committed based upon. 

The police and Crown Prosecution Service define hate crimes and hate incidents as being motivated by hostility or prejudice based on one of the following: 

  • Disability 
  • Race 
  • Religion 
  • Transgender identity 
  • Sexual orientation 

What is a Hate Incident? 

There is a difference between a hate crime and a hate incident. 
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 amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported. 

Hate crimes are criminal offences, whilst Hate incidents refer to incidences that are motivated by specific characteristics, but do not constitute criminal offences (ie no law is broken). For example: 

  • Verbal abuse eg name-calling and offensive jokes. 
  • Harassment. 
  • Bullying or intimidation. 
  • Threats of violence. 
  • Abusive phone or text messages. 
  • Online abuse on social media.
  • Displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters. 
  • Harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, or vehicle. 
  • Throwing rubbish into a garden 
  • Malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise 

Important to note: Something is a hate incident if the victim or anyone else thinks it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on one of these characteristics. 

This means that if the victim believe something is a hate incident, it should be recorded as such by the person it is being reported to. 


What is a Hate Crime? 

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.

A criminal offence is something that breaks the law.  Some examples of criminal offences include: 
  • Assaults. 
  • Criminal damage. 
  • Harassment. 
  • Murder. 
  • Sexual Assault. 
  • Theft.
  • Fraud. 
  • Burglary. 
  • Hate mail. 
  • Harassment 


There are two ways you can tell us what happened