Hate crime is a criminal offence committed against an individual or property that is motivated by a person's hatred of someone because of his or her actual or perceived race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or disability.
You don't have to be physically attacked or injured to be a vicitm of hate crime. Hate crime can include:
- having someone say hurtful things to you
- being pushed, hit or hurt
- having your belongings stolen
- having something you own vandalised
- people swearing at you or making abusive remarks
- people making you feel intimidated or distressed
The impact of these acts can have devastating consequences for victims, their families and communities.
If you are a victim of Hate Crime
- dial 999 if you need immediate help!
- make noise and shout for help
- go to a safe place, as soon as possible
- report the incident to the police or other organisation
Keep a record if all incidents as they happen e.g. dates, times, what happened, witnesses etc. Keep offensive materials e.g. notes or letters and do not delete abusive text mesages, emails or voicemails. These can be used as evidence and may help to identify the abuser. If you have been attacked - don't shower or change your clothes as it may destroy evidence. If you had your keys taken, you should change your locks.
Talking through what has happened to you will make a difference and help you to sort things out. Tell someone - a friend, neighbour, family member or doctor. You should also report the incident to the police or another organisation that will recognise how serious the incident has been and provide other support.
How to report a Hate Crime
Police Scotland will respond to Hate Crime proactively and robustly. You can report a Hate Crime as follows:
- by telephone 999 (emergency) or 101 (non emergency)
- in person at any Police office
Third party reporting
In some cases victims/witnesses of Hate Crime do not feel comfortable reporting the matter directly to the Police and may be more comfortable reporting it to someone they are familiar or more comfortable with.
To ensure that all victims and witnesses are able to report Hate Crimes, Police Scotland works in partnership with a wide variety of partners who perform the role of 3rd Party Reporting Centres. Staff within 3rd Party Reporting Centres have been trained to assist a victim or witness in submitting a report to the police and can make such a report on the victim/ wintesses behalf.
Examples of 3rd Party Reporting Centres participating in the scheme include Victim Support Offices and Voluntary Groups.