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A hate crime is a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or anybody else, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards one of their protected characteristics.

Protected characteristics 

There are five protected characteristics covered by hate crime legislation:

  • Disability
  • Gender identity
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation

Who can be a victim of a hate crime

Anybody can be a victim of hate crime. A hate crime or hate incident occurs when somebody is harassed or attacked because of who they are.

Someone could also be targeted because of their age or gender, or because they are perceived as being 'different', for example:

  • Popular culture - e.g gothic, punk, ‘emo’ or other
  • Their dress and appearance
  • They are homeless
  • They are an asylum seeker or refugee
  • They have a different political view or belief

While the above won’t be recorded as a ‘hate crime’, all crimes and incidents are taken very seriously and if you feel that you have been victim to or witnessed a crime take place motivated by prejudice or hostility, it’s very important that the police know about it.

Types of hate crime

A hate crime can take many forms including:

  • Blackmail, stalking, burglary or theft
  • Criminal damage or vandalism to your property or belongings
  • Offensive or insulting graffiti on your car or home
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Threats against you, your friends, or your family

Hate incidents

A hate incident is a non-crime incident which is perceived by the victim, or anybody else, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards one of their protected characteristics.

Hate incidents can take many forms including: 

  • Someone belittling or humiliating you
  • Someone making you feel upset, distressed or degraded
  • Any other incident that isn’t necessarily a crime but still causes you alarm or distress

How to report hate crime

You can report a hate crime to:

The police

In an emergency call 999 to tell the police that there is a danger to life or there is an immediate threat of serious violence.

If it’s not an emergency, you can report it:


You can report a hate crime anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.

Our housing department

If you’re a housing association tenant you can report hate crimes, anonymously if you wish, to the housing department’s hate incidents reporting line as an alternative to the police by calling 020 8871 6829.

Organisations that can help

The following organisations can offer support and advice if you have been the victim of hate crime.

Victim Support

Victim Support can help immediately after an incident or any time after the crime has taken place. They will listen to you in confidence and offer information, practical help and emotional support; they are also able to help you to navigate the criminal justice system and make a compensation claim, if you choose to report the crime.

Citizens Advice Richmond 

Citizens Advice Richmond is an independent local charity providing information and advice to anyone who lives, works or studies in the Richmond borough. It provides free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of areas, including experiences of discrimination, harassment or hate crime.

London Race Advocacy project

The London Race Advocacy project has been established to support victims of race and religious hate crime in 16 London boroughs through the provision of information, advice, advocacy, and representation. The project will advise and support victims of race hate crime and aim to reduce their feelings of fear and isolation, increase their self-esteem and dignity and increase their awareness of their rights.

Other organisations


For further information on hate crime email

Updated: 23 January 2024

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