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Check if you’ve experienced a hate incident or hate crime

This advice applies to Scotland

If you’ve experienced a crime, it’s also a hate crime if you think the person’s behaviour was motivated by prejudice against you:

  • because of your race
  • because of your religion
  • because of your sexuality
  • because you're disabled
  • because you're trans.

For example, it’s a hate crime if someone assaulted you and used homophobic language or threw a brick through your window and wrote racist graffiti on your house. 

It’s still a hate crime if someone made a mistake about your identity. For example if they attacked you because they thought you were a particular race, but you’re not.

If you’ve experienced something that wasn’t a crime, but you think it was motivated by prejudice against you, it’s a hate incident. For example, if someone shouted abuse at you from their car.

A hate incident motivated by ill will and prejudice can be prosecuted as an offence, even if it happened online. You can report the incident to the police.

If you’re not sure if what happened was a hate incident or a hate crime, you can find out how to get help on the Victim Support Scotland website.

What you can do about a hate incident or hate crime

You can report it to the police if you’ve:

  • experienced a hate incident or hate crime
  • seen a hate incident or hate crime happen to someone else, even if the victim doesn't want to.

It’s worth reporting it to the police even if you don’t think it’s very serious. Sometimes small hate incidents can lead to more serious ones. For example, someone might start by making offensive jokes - but they could end up hurting someone. 

Read more about how to report a hate incident or hate crime to the police.

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