A hate incident is when you experience an act of hostility which you believe is motivated by your disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. (also known as protected characteristics). Verbal abuse, threats of violence, harassment, bullying, intimidation or online abuse are just some of the many forms of hate related incidents.
A hate incident becomes a hate crime when a criminal offence has been committed because of hostility or prejudice based on your disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. A criminal offence is an act that breaks the law and can include offences such as assault, harassment, theft, criminal damage, hate mail and fraud.
Why should you report a hate incident or crime?
Hate crimes and incidents can be frightening and confusing. By reporting to South Wales Police, you are not committing yourself to taking any further action, but it does allow you to get the support you may need, as well as preventing this happening again to you or someone else.
How can you report hate crime?
There are several ways you can report a hate crime, as a victim, witness, or reporting on behalf of someone else:
In an emergency: call 999
To report non-urgent crime call 101 where you can speak to a member of South Wales Police, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
You do not have to give your personal details, but the investigation and ability to prosecute the offender(s) is limited if the police cannot contact you. After reporting, you will be contacted and supported by a Hate Crime Officer who has been trained in understanding hate crime and how it affects people.
Victims are always encouraged to contact the police but you can report the incident directly to Victim Support on 08456 121 900 24/7 and support services will be offered within 48 hours. You are also entitled to free confidential help and support from South Wales Victim Focus. They can help you regardless of when the incident took place or whether the police are to take further action. Contact them on 0300 303 0161 or go to SouthWalesVictimFocus.org.uk for more information
Do I have to be able to prove the crime was a hate crime for it to be considered a hate crime?
No. If the victim or witness believes the crime was motivated by hate then it will be treated as such
Can the criminal justice system apply stronger sentences to perpetrators of hate crime?
Yes. Hate crimes can lead to convictions and in certain cases the Crown Prosecution Service can apply stronger sentences because they are based on hate.
Can hate crime be reported even if the perpetrator cannot be clearly described?
Yes. Any information you give on an incident could be important and may relate to a similar incident that has happened to someone else in an area. The police may know the perpetrator and may be able to find CCTV footage of the occurrence.
For something to be classed as a hate crime, does it have to be a serious crime motivated by hostility or prejudice?
No. Hate crime and incidents can include harassment, name calling or anything that is unwanted and motivated by prejudice. You should not put up with any form of prejudice and if the police are aware of people carrying out hate incidents, they may be able to prevent them from escalating into more serious hate crimes.
Can only the victim report hate crime?
No. All hate crimes and incidents should be reported, whether you have been a victim, a witness or you are reporting on behalf of someone else.
Hate crimes and incidents hurt; they can be confusing and frightening. By reporting them when they happen to you, you may be able to prevent these incidents from happening to someone else. You will also help the police understand the extent of hate crime in your local area so they can better respond to it.