Hate Crime Support
If in an emergency or immediate danger, always call 999.
No one deserves to be treated with abuse or disrespect. As much as we hope that you do not experience any hate crime or discrimination in your day-to-day life, these incidents do happen. Experiencing a hate crime or incident can be a daunting experience. As hate crimes target people’s identities, even if there’s no physical violence involved, victims can experience deep trauma and anxiety from it.
What’s the difference between a hate crime and a hate incident?
A hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or group of people motivated by someone’s hatred and prejudice based on a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity.
Any crime can be a transphobic hate crime. Take for example physical abuse, which breaks criminal law – if there is sufficient proof that this violent act was motivated by prejudice or hatred towards trans people, the abuser should face a heavier sentence because of it.
In some instances, it may be obvious that what you’ve experienced is a hate crime. For example, when there’s physical and verbal abuse. More often, however, it might not be so clear. For instance, when someone like a carer or someone you consider a friend routinely acts in an aggressive and prejudiced way towards you.
When an occurrence doesn’t break the law, hate violence is categorised as a ‘hate incident’. A single hate incident might not break criminal law, but a series of hate incidents might add up to a criminal act. Whether or not it is a hate crime or a hate incident, please remember it is not your responsibility to determine if what you have experienced is a crime or not before you are able to access support. And both can be reported.
Online Hate Speech and Hate Crime
The internet and the ways we connect with each other online are constantly changing. Even though a lot of the content shared online might be considered offensive, little of it is actually illegal. Unfortunately, UK law has not developed at the same pace as the online world has.
As offline hate crimes, any crime committed online can be a transphobic hate crime, if the reason to target someone is based on hatred or prejudice of trans identities. Some examples of online behaviour that might constitute a hate crime include:
- Doxxing – someone publishing your personal information online, like someone’s personal address and phone number or intimate photos, with the intent of inciting harassment from other people
- Blackmail – threats made to disclose information, rather it be true or false, unless certain demands are met, such as money and gifts
- Identity Theft
- Encouraging people to be violent or abusive towards you or a group of people
It might be helpful to keep a record of hate incidents and screenshots that you experience online, even if you do not want to report it straight away. A single hate incident might not break criminal law, but a series of hate incidents might add up to a criminal act.
What might seem as an isolated incident might become a reoccurring issue, or it might be linked to face-to-face violence or harassment. Keeping a record of all this information might help portray a bigger pattern of harassment you might be experiencing in different areas of your life.
Unfortunately, transphobic hate speech online is a far too common reality. Even though it might not break criminal law, it can deeply affect the ones targeted. Most social media platforms offer internal procedures and guidelines for you to report hate speech.
When/where can I report something?
Regardless if what you experienced constitutes a hate crime or not, it is within your rights to report it if you wish to do so.
When you experience or witness transphobic violence, it is important to take note of the incident, with as much detail as possible. For example, the following bits of information would be helpful:
- Date and time
- If there were any witnesses
- A description of perpetrator(s)
- Any photo/video evidence if applicable
- A description of what happened and how it impacted you.
You can find more information about recording hate incidents here.
If you decide to contact your local police station to report a hate crime or incident, remember that your perception of the situation is what matters. This means that if you believe you were a victim or a witness of a transphobic and/or any other hate crime or incident, it needs to be written down as such by the person taking your statement. If you decide to report an incident to the police, make sure to tell them you want it reported as a transphobic hate crime. You should also ensure that they give you a reference number for the case and provide you with a copy of the report.
There are several reasons why you might feel uncomfortable walking into a police station to report a crime. You can also do it online through the True Vision website. This platform gives you the option to provide your contact details or submit a report anonymously.
Alternatively, you can get in contact with independent organisations like Galop to get help and advice on reporting to the police, or just to report the incident to them directly.
Transphobic hate crime stats have risen in the past years, and it still goes massively underreported. Reporting, even if anonymously, can serve as a helpful tool for public and independent institutions to get a clearer picture of the scale to what it occurs and develop better services to prevent it from happening to other people.
Where can I get support?
Often the information available focuses on the importance of reporting. While this is important, your wellbeing should always be the priority. Regardless of whether you want to report it or not, or how big or small you may think the incident was, there are independent organisations that are here to support you – either by offering advice, signposting to local organisations that can help you further, or just lending a sympathetic ear for you to talk through your experiences.
Galop is an LGBT+ anti-violence charity. They have a helpline for LGBT+ Hate Crime, run by LGBT+ people for LGBT+ people. They can provide holistic support wherever you are based in the UK and are open between 10am to 4pm, from Monday to Friday. You can get in touch by calling 020 7704 2040 or by email at [email protected].
StopHateUK is one of the leading organisations working to challenge all forms of hate crimes and discrimination based on any aspect of an individual’s identity. They provide independent, confidential and accessible support to victims and witnesses. StopHateUK runs a 24-hour helpline you can reach at 0800 138 1625. You can find more about the geographic areas they provide support in here.
Our legal department can offer you bespoke signposting, as well as, a non-judgmental, listening ear over the phone, and some initial, expertise support in certain circumstances.