Hate Crime is crime committed against a person or property that is motivated by ‘malice or ill-will towards a social group.
You can be a victim of a hate crime if you believe that someone has targeted you because of their prejudice against certain characteristics.
In Scotland, the law currently recognises hate crimes as crimes motivated by prejudice based on:
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity
You do not need to be a member of a minority community to be a victim of hate crime. The law is quite clear that the identity of the victim is irrelevant as to whether something is a hate crime or not. The motivation of the perpetrator is the key factor in defining a hate crime.
Hate Crimes can take a number of forms, including, but not limited to:
- Threatening behaviour
- Verbal abuse or insults including name-calling
- Damage to property
- Encouraging others to commit hate crimes
- Online abuse on sites like Facebook or Twitter
Hate Crime can happen anywhere, both online and offline and is always completely unacceptable. What is illegal offline is illegal online.
What type of incidents can be recorded as a hate incident?
Here are some examples of what can be recorded as a hate incident:
- verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
- bullying or intimidation by people of any age
- physical attacks such as 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 things such as your home, or a pet or car
- throwing rubbish into a garden
- malicious complaints.