Hate incidents and hate crime are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. For example, you may have been verbally abused by someone in the street because you’re disabled or someone thought you were gay. But, really importantly, if you’ve experienced a hate crime you should report it to the police.
This means that if you believe something is a hate incident it should be recorded as such by the person you are reporting it to. All police forces record hate incidents based on 1) Disability, 2) Race, 3) Religion, 4) Transgender Identity and 5) Sexual Orientation. Anyone can be the victim of a hate incident. For example, you may have been targeted because someone thought you were gay even though you’re not, or because you have a disabled child.
When hate incidents become criminal offences they are known as hate crimes. A criminal offence is something which breaks the law of the land. Any criminal offence can be a hate crime if it was carried out because of hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion,transgender identity or sexual orientation.
Keeping Safe (by our editor, Helen Williams)
I have fortunately only had a couple of minor incidents, one of which took me very much by surprise.
I know of others, who have experienced quite unpleasant confrontations.
I will offer advice on how to avoid difficult situations and how to safely deal with them. We are all vulnerable at any time and none of us want to end up hurt, either physically or emotionally, or both.
WHAT IS HATE CRIME?
Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s
*Race or ethnicity
*Religion or belief
This can be committed against a person or property.
A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime.
Hate incidents can feel like crimes to those who suffer from them and often escalate to crimes or tension in a community. For this reason the police are concerned about these types of abuse.
WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS REPORT HATE CRIME
Hate incidents and crime hurt – they can also be confusing and frightening.
By reporting them when they happen to you, means you may be able to prevent these incidents from happening to someone else. You will also be helping the police understand the extent of hate crime in your local area so they can better respond to it.
WHAT CRIMES CAN I REPORT?
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.
These incidents may include verbal abuse, physical assault, domestic abuse,harassment and damage to property.
If a person is bullied as a result of their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity, this is also dealt with either as a hate crime or non-crime hate incident. Bullying could include name calling, being spat at or kicked, or having your things taken or damaged.
To Contact Helen Please Email …. firstname.lastname@example.org
This subject is so important to us at all times. It is so easy when out having a good time to let our guard slip. Some of my first ventures outside of home were night time drives in the car.
Unfortunately there now seems to be a lot of chancers out there, and if you are in queue of traffic it only takes a couple of seconds to open the door and grab your bag form the passenger seat. I always place my bag behind my seat as soon as I am in the car, I lock myself in. Sadly a sign of the times that we live in. Petrol stations are a common place to steal a car that has just been filled up with fuel. Always lock the car before going to pay; this will stop someone hiding in the back of your car ready to take not just your car, but your bag as well.
Some of the things that I am going to say may seem quite obvious, but when you are having a good time, and perhaps some adrenalin is rushing around, it is so easy to forget the basics. For a long time now I have had a whistle attached to a key ring on the strap of my hand bag. If you do happen to need it, it is no good fumbling in your pockets for it, or remembering that you left it in your other coat, or it will be too late. I do sometimes carry a rape alarm, depending on where I am going, and if you are in an area you are not sure about and are feeling a bit uneasy, have your finger poised over the button until you fell you are safe once more. Another simple thing to remember if you don’t have a whistle or alarm is your front door key. Place it on your index and middle fingers and you have something sharp to swipe across someone’s face if needed.
Take your new found freedom one step at a time, and if possible, visit the areas during the day time to familiarise yourself with the surroundings, dark alleyways are not always obvious at night.
If you are subjected to adverse comments, ignore them, don’t retaliate and keep walking, Don’t turn round to see what they are doing, and if you think you are being followed then pop into a shop or a bar or café if you can. Most people who make comments will quickly forget you soon after you have gone by.
During the day it is best to dress down a bit and try and blend in with everyone else, save the heels and short skirts for the clubs, parties and special occasions. Fortunately, I have never felt the need to use any of these “accessories”, but it reassuring to know that you have the means to try and prevent something from happening. It is extremely rare for anything to happen, but it is better to be prepared than not.
Buses can be a bit scary the first few times you used them, but at least you can jump off at the next stop if you are feeling uncomfortable.
Trains I have always found to be ok. Find a seat where the back of the seat in front is facing you. Then you won’t be facing anyone directly. It is a wonderful moment when on a crowded bus or a train, when you are offered a seat. Quite often it will be a young person, which gives me some hope that good manners are still out there.
Tube trains can be a bit problematical. They are always busy and crowed even in the off peak times. When boarding, find the smaller door at the end of the carriage, then you will not be completely surround by people, and you can see the whole length of the carriage. If you need a lot of foundation, then the tube may not be an option for you, as it can get very hot down there, especially in summer, and the last thing you want is to feel your makeup is sliding down your face! As the tune is so crowded, particularly on escalators, it provides the opportunist thief to relive you of your handbag. I would recommend placing the strap of your bag over your head so that it lies diagonally across your body which will make an unattractive to steal.
Having said that, incidents are quite rare, so enjoy yourself when you out, but stay safe.