Could you be a victim of a hate crime or incident?
Research suggests that hate crime is hugely under-reported. Some victims may be reluctant to come forward, for example for fear of attracting further abuse or because they don't believe the police or other authorities will take them seriously.
Wiltshire Police is committed to tackling hate crime and anyone reporting a hate crime or incident will be taken seriously and will be listened to.
What is a hate crime?
Hate crime happens because of hostility, prejudice or hatred of people based on what are called protected characteristics. These are:
- Gender identity
- Race, ethnicity or nationality
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
Hate crimes can include things like name calling and verbal abuse, bullying and harassment, spitting and physical attacks, damage to property, such as graffiti and written notes, emails and text messages or through other social networking.
Hate crime is a criminal offence and should be reported to the police. If you have been a victim of, or a witness to, a hate crime or if there is an immediate threat to you or your family, contact the police on 101 or, in an emergency, call 999. Alternatively you can report hate crime online.
What is a hate incident?
Hate incidents can feel like crimes to those who suffer them and often escalate to become crimes or to inflame tension within a community. Evidence is not needed to report a hate incident - all that is required is perception, a feeling or awareness on the part of anyone that the incident was motivated by prejudice or hate.
The police can only prosecute when the law is broken and Wiltshire Police continues to work with partners to prevent incidents escalating to become a crime.
Why should you report a hate crime?
By reporting this when it happens to you may help prevent this happening to someone else. It also helps us understand the extent and impact of discrimination or prejudice so we can better respond to it.
Hate crimes will be taken seriously and offenders will be convicted at court. By increasing the conviction rate we can increase public confidence in the police and the wider criminal justice system, which can lead to more victims reporting hate incidents and crimes to the police.
You can report if you are a victim, a witness or if you are reporting on behalf of someone else. Your report will be treated in the strictest confidence.