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What is a Hate Crime?

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What is a Hate Crime?. The new definition – Hate crime involves any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic . (Home Office, 2012).

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What is a Hate Crime?

The new definition –

Hate crime involves any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic. (Home Office, 2012)

  • There are 5 ‘traditionally monitored’ strands of hate crime –
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion or belief
  • Transgender
  • West Mercia Police now recognise ‘physical appearance’ as a new category.
Reporting Methods
  • 999 – in case of emergency and / or if harm is being experienced right now
  • 101 – for non-emergency calls
  • True Vision website
  • 3rd party reporting – Carers, Advocates, Social Workers, Council Staff, Health Professionals, Housing Associations. Anyone can report an incident on someone else’s behalf.
  • “Hate Incidents” - It doesn’t matter if it is a crime or not, what matters is the impact of what has happened on the well-being of the victim.
Hate Crimes reported in Worcestershire
  • Hate Crime is widely regarded as an under-reported issue, however, the number of crimes reported to police is decreasing. These local stats also reflect national trends.
  • Between 80 – 85% of reported hate crimes are race related.
  • Roughly 10% relate to a person’s sexual orientation.
  • Very few reported crime relates to physical disability , learning disability or a person’s mental health.
  • It is extremely difficult to accurately record – please note these stats refer to crimes and not incidents.
the harm based approach
The ‘Harm’ Based Approach
  • Someone being targeted purely because of who they are is wrong.
  • The impact of a seemingly minor incident can be enormous – everyone reacts differently depending on a range of factors, including previous experience, social isolation, vulnerability, mental well-being.

We need to look at the harm caused, not what happened. Would you see these incidents as serious enough to report to Police?

  • Litter thrown into the front garden
  • A football being kicked against the front gate
  • Kids playing ‘knock door run’
  • Name calling in the street
  • Litter posted through the letter box

Taking each incident in isolation, probably not…..

…. But when all these incidents add up over a 10 year period?

33 phone calls to Leicestershire Police between 2000 – 2009.

Not one incident was recorded as a crime, they were all classed as ‘anti-social behaviour’.

No one joined the dots.

so using the harm based approach this could no longer happen could it

So, using the harm based approach this could no longer happen, could it?

  • Leicestershire Transgender Support Group
  • Since 2007, 5 members have been lost to suicide.

It is believed by family and friends that no single incident was behind the death of any of the 5, it was the daily grind of verbal abuse and low level hostility experienced by members that led to the dramatic decline in their mental well-being. Research shows that 34% of transgender people have ‘seriously considered’ suicide.

The response of the Police (or any other agency) can only be as good as the information it receives.

Today’s un-subtle message…


Either by 101, 999 (in an emergency) or

And if you haven’t been given an incident number, you haven’t reported it.

mate crime
Mate Crime
  • “Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity”. (George Eliot)
  • Gemma Hayter, murdered in August 2010 by a group of 5. The ringleader, later sentenced to life imprisonment, had been described by Gemma as “her best friend”.
  • Lemos & Crane’s “Loneliness and Cruelty”, published in 2012. In depth interviews with 67 people with LD. The majority identified friendship as a support need. 62 out of 67 had experienced harassment, verbal abuse and crime in the local community.
  • Over the past 20 years there has been a greater emphasis placed on supporting people to live independently in the community, rather than in care homes or institutions. While this is hugely positive for most people, it presents a greater ‘opportunity’ for exploitation, abuse and mate crime to take place.
some common features of mate crime
Some common features of mate crime
  • Living independently but with support needs.
  • Deemed as having ‘capacity’ to make their own decisions under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
  • Identify a need for friendship as important to their well-being.
  • Often lack genuine friends and rarely socialise outside of close family members, professional carers and support workers.
  • Cruelty only starts to occur once a friendship has been established.
  • Early incidents may include the flat being used by others as a place to hold parties, small scale thefts or financial abuse.
  • Cruelty then begins to escalate.
  • Victims very rarely report mate crime to police. The vast majority are reported by third parties.
  • Even when victims have an awareness that they are being abused, many place a greater value on the ‘friendship’ and are willing to tolerate the cruelty.