Hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone perceives them to be.
Hate crimes can take many different forms – for example someone may have damaged your property because of the colour of your skin, sent you offensive letters because of what you believe, or behaved violently towards you because of who you love.
No hate crime is acceptable. We all have a right to live without fear, hostility and intimidation from others because of who we are.
How it can affect you
Hate crimes are particularly distressing for victims because of how personal they are. By their very nature, being a victim of a hate crime means you have been targeted because of who you are or what you believe.
Hate crimes are often committed against the most vulnerable people in our society, for example disabled people, or people with mental ill health, which makes it harder for them to find and ask for help.
Victims of hate crimes sometimes already feel different or excluded from mainstream society. If you feel this way and a crime is committed against you, this is likely to increase your feelings of difference, leading to further isolation.
Even if no physical harm has been done, the mental distress and damage to self-esteem can be very difficult to cope with. You may feel anxious that someone will target you again. You may feel scared to leave your home or live your life.
In some instances, people are victims of hate crime, simply because the perpetrator has made assumptions about that individual. Being victimised in this way can be equally shocking and difficult for the victim to cope with.
You may feel anger, fear, confusion and resentment at the way you have been treated or the ‘labels’ being attributed to you.
If you have become accustomed to hateful behaviour towards you, you may no longer consider it out of the ordinary or something worth reporting, it simply becomes accepted as the way things are.
As well as coping with the physical and mental effects of any incidents, you may have to deal with the inconvenience and cost of repairing damage, replacing possessions or increasing security.
Some people feel better by reporting what has happened to them. Reporting the crime to police or other support service helps put them back in control. However, understandably, you may feel very intimidated by what has happened and unsure whether to report it or not.
You may be worried about confidentiality, or not want your family and friends to know what has happened. You might be worried that reporting the incident will ‘out’ you in some way, or reveal personal details about yourself that you don’t want making public.
You may be afraid to go to court and face the offender, or you might simply not want to talk about what happened to you because it is too painful. You may lack confidence in the criminal justice system or other agencies, or think that you won’t be supported or taken seriously.
However you feel, and whatever you have gone through you are not alone. Help is available, even if you don’t want to report the crime to police.
What you can do
If someone is being hateful towards you because of you who you are, it is not acceptable. We all have the right to live our lives without fear and recrimination.
Tell as trusted friend or family member about what has happened, and use them for support.
You may feel unsure about talking to the police, but there are other ways to report hate crime and incidents – you can use an independent third-party reporting centre or even report it online.
Making a report can help to make you feel better and help you regain feelings of power and control. It will also help police and other agencies to deal with the issue.
How to report it
Hate crime comes in lots of forms, but no matter what it is you've experienced, you should report it. You can report it to the police, online, or at an independent hate crime reporting centre.
In an emergency: dial 999
An emergency is when a crime is being committed or has just been witnessed, there is a risk of injury, or a risk of serious damage to property.
In a non-emergency: dial 101
Use this number to report a non-emergency incident or make a general inquiry.
Report it online
‘True Vision is a website containing lots of information about hate crime. You can report online and even remain anonymous if you want.
Want to report it, but don't want to talk to police?
You can also report hate crime using an independent reporting centre. These are independent, non-police centres that allow you to report incidents in complete confidence. If you’d rather not talk to anyone you can use a ‘self-reporting’ pack.
There are lots of hate crime reporting centres across Greater Manchester, here are just some of them:
- LGBT Foundation - a charity delivering a services to lesbian, gay and bisexual and trans communities
- Tameside People First - a drop in group was set up for People with learning disabilities in Tameside
- Salford Disability Forum - an organisation that works to make sure disabled people in Salford are able to play a full and active part in the life of their community
- Bury Asian Women's Centre - a registered charity and was established in 1996, set up to meet the needs of women from BME communities
- Wai Yin Society - supporting, empowering and working in partnership with Chinese individuals and families for more than 25 years
- Bolton Council of Mosques - providing services for the Muslim community
- Henshaw's Society for the Blind - providing expert care, advice and training to anyone affected by sight loss
- Community Security Trust - a charity that protects British Jews from antisemitism and related threats
For a full list of indpendent hate crime reporting centres, visit the Greater Manchester Police website. On each of the neighbourhood policing web pages, you can find a section on ‘hate crime reporting centres’ on it – look out for the tab at the bottom of the page. This gives you local information about where you can report hate crime in your local area, without speaking directly to the police:
Contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is a charity which is entirely independent of police and never share details with police of people who have got in touch.
Police can only prosecute when the law has been broken. But even if what has happened doesn’t constitute a crime, it is still well worth making a report. These reports help police and other organisations build up a picture of community relations so they can better tackle the issues and pre-empt any escalation of hate crime incidents into violence or serious tensions within communities.
Find help and support
If you have been a victim of crime, don’t suffer in silence. Even if you don’t want to report it to the police, tell a trusted friend or family member about it and use them for support. You can also search our directory to find help and support to help you cope and recover from what’s happened.
Useful links and information
Tell MAMA and CST's booklet- 'Hate Crime - A Guide For Those Affected.'