What is a Hate Crime?

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Health Assured team

26 July 2023

Hate crimes can occur at any time and in any place, affecting the wellbeing, safety, and mental health of those who experience it. But in order to help prevent hate crimes and support those who go through them, it’s important to understand what defines a hate crime and how to find help in the event of one occurring.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding hate crime and helping to prevent them from happening to others in the future.

What is a Hate Crime Definition?

A hate crime is defined as any kind of verbal, physical, or online abuse that’s been perceived to be motivated based on prejudices towards another person. Hate crimes include prejudices that are based on someone’s:

  • Religious affiliation or belief
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Disability

The above are defined as ‘protected characteristics’, and are closely linked to the majority of hate crimes. Many people aren’t aware of what falls under the category of a hate crime. In fact, any kind of unwelcome comments, verbal abuse, harassment, assault, or damage to personal property based on these protected characteristics is considered a hate crime.

What is a Hate Incident?

While there is a difference between the two, they’re equally as unsettling and inappropriate. Essentially, any other kind of abusive behaviour that’s not defined as a crime but is perceived as prejudice by the recipient falls under the category of a hate incident.

Acts of this nature are still deeply troubling for those who experience them and can severely affect the mental health and wellbeing of people who suffer through incidents like this.

What Can I do to Support Others?

Supporting friends, family members, and even strangers who experience a hate crime is a pivotal part of preventing them from becoming normalised. No one should ever be made to feel inferior to another person, and we all have an obligation to support others and protect them from religious phobias, racism, bigotry, transphobia, and ableist actions.

People who are represented under these 5 protected characteristics should never be made to feel unwelcome or unsupported. If this goes unchallenged, it can make these individuals suffer in silence and without the confidence to seek the means to help them.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support

For those unfortunate enough to experience them, a hate crime can be an extremely traumatic event that severely damages the self-worth and mental health of sufferers. But despite the vile nature of these horrific ordeals, it’s important for us all to remember that support is never far away when needed.

Sometimes, family and friends are enough to get you through hard times. But there’s no shame in admitting when you need more guidance and assistance. If you’re experiencing any mental health or wellbeing issues due to any of the matters we’ve discussed here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your University, the police, or our confidential helpline that’s open 24/7.

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