A hate crime is an offense against a person or property driven by malice or ill-will towards a social group.

You can be considered a victim of a hate crime if you believe you were targeted due to someone's prejudice against specific characteristics.

In Scotland, hate crimes are recognized when motivated by prejudice based on:

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

You do not need to belong to a minority community to be a victim of hate crime. The law focuses on the perpetrator's motivation, not the victim's identity.

Hate crimes can include:

  • Threatening behavior
  • Verbal abuse or insults, including name-calling
  • Assault
  • Property damage
  • Encouraging others to commit hate crimes
  • Harassment
  • Online abuse on platforms like Facebook or Twitter

Hate crimes can occur both online and offline and are always unacceptable. What's illegal offline is also illegal online.

Examples of Hate Incidents

The following can be recorded as hate incidents:

  • Verbal abuse, such as name-calling and offensive jokes
  • Harassment
  • Bullying or intimidation by anyone
  • Physical attacks like hitting, punching, pushing, spitting
  • Threats of violence
  • Hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, or hate mail
  • Online abuse, for example, on Facebook or Twitter
  • Displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
  • Harm or damage to property, pets, or vehicles
  • Graffiti
  • Arson
  • Throwing rubbish into a garden
  • Malicious complaints

There are two ways you can tell us what happened