'Hate crimes’ and 'hate incidents' are terms used to describe acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. This can be an incident against a person or against property and includes materials posted online. 
A hate crime is a criminal offence (e.g., assault) which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated (wholly or partly) by malice and ill-will based on the victim’s disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity. 
A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their age, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender identity or variations in sex characteristics. Not all hate incidents will involve criminal offences. For example, name-calling or bullying based on the above protected characteristics may constitute a hate incident, even if no law is broken. 
Hate crimes and hate incidents are particularly hurtful as you are being targeted because of your personal identity. These crimes can happen randomly or be part of a campaign of continued harassment and victimisation. It can impact your sense of security and wellbeing, as well as your ability to participate both socially and economically in your communities.   
Some examples of hate incidents include: 

  • Verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes 
  • Non-criminal harassment 
  • Bullying or intimidation by children, adults, neighbours or strangers 
  • Physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing, spitting which do not constitute criminal offences 
  • Threats of violence 
  • Hoax calls, abusive phone, or text messages, hate mail 
  • Online abuse, for example on Facebook or Twitter 
  • Displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters 
  • Harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, or vehicle 
  • Graffiti 
  • Arson 
  • Throwing rubbish into a garden 
  • Malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise 
When hate incidents involve criminal offences they are known as hate crimes. A criminal offence is something that breaks the law. Some examples of hate crimes include:  

  • Assaults 
  • Criminal damage 
  • Harassment 
  • Murder 
  • Sexual assault 
  • Theft 
  • Fraud 
  • Burglary 
  • Hate mail 
  • Harassment 
Where these are motivated by the victim’s age, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender identity, or variations in sex characteristics. 
Police Scotland has launched a ‘Don’t Feed Hate’ campaign and learn more from their previous campaign ‘Help Make Scotland: A Better Place.’ You can call 999 in an emergency to speak to Police or 101 for non-emergencies. If not an emergency, but you wish to report something, you can report online.
The Advice Place is run by the Student's Association and is a third party crime reporting site. If you are a victim of a crime, they can support you.

Stop Hate UK is a leading national organisation working to challenge all forms of Hate Crime and discrimination, based on any aspect of an individual’s identity.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened