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Hate Crime - Adult

Being you is not a crime: Hate crime is

Hate Crime

Tackling hate crime is a priority for West Mercia Police. We know that on a national and local level hate crimes are underreported and are committed to ensuring all victims have the confidence to come forward and report any incidents or crimes to the police.

People who commit hate crimes are targeting people because of who they are and often victims are some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. This can have a devastating impact on the individual and the wider community.

We will carry out an investigation into every reported hate crime, aim to bring perpetrators to justice and ensure safeguarding measures are in place to look after victims and their families.

What is a hate crime?

Hate crime is any crime that is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone because of their:

  • Race (including nationality, national origin, ethnic origin, race and colour)
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • Gender identity
  • Individual characteristics that makes someone appear different (e.g. a visible alternative lifestyle or culture)

It's important to know that you don't have to be a member of the group the hostility is targeted at. You don't have to be gay to have had homophobic abuse shouted at you. You may not be part of a religion but still have someone target you because they think you are. Anyone can be a victim of a hate crime.

The difference between a hate crime and a hate incident

A hate incident is an act that falls short of being a criminal act and is therefore not a criminal offence, but is still perceived by the victim to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on any of the same characteristics.

All hate incidents should be reported to the police; they will be logged and receive a police response.

What type of incident can be a hate incident?

  • Verbal abuse such as name calling or offensive jokes
  • Bullying or intimidation
  • Hoax calls, offensive phone or text messages
  • Online abuse; for example on social media - for tips for protecting yourself online please refer to our pdf icon cyber bullying and on line harassment advice guide [541kb]
  • Throwing rubbish in a garden

Depending on the circumstances of the incident, some of these may be a criminal offence and logged as a hate crime. They should all be reported and will receive a police response.

When a hate incident is a criminal offence, it is logged as a hate crime. All types of crime can be a hate crime.

If you are a victim of a crime then please keep any evidence which may help the police. Examples may be:

  • Photographs of any damage / injuries
  • Text Messages / answer phone messages
  • Screenshots
  • Times / dates / description of any previous incidents or contact.

What response can you expect from police?

A police officer (known as an "Officer in the Case" - OIC) will attend all hate crimes. They will take responsibility for investigating the crime and keeping the victim updated.

How do I report a hate crime?

In an emergency call 999 For non-emergencies call 101

Call in at your local police station

Report online to True Vision at

Talk to a trusted friend, family member, support worker, social worker or teacher

Through a third party reporting centre (see support details).

There is also other support out there - Victim Advice Line (VAL)

We understand that everyone's experience of crime is different. Here in West Mercia we have introduced Victim Advice Line (from 1 April 2019), a service specifically developed to provide emotional and practical support for victims of crime. 
The service is free and confidential and is available even if you choose not to report a crime.
We want to make things as easy as possible for you. When we speak for the first time, we'll often already know a little about what happened, so you won't need to tell your story again and again. 
We'll carry out a needs and risk assessment so we know exactly what kind of help and support you need.
We'll also assign you your own Care Coordinator, who'll be there for you throughout your journey to ensure those needs are met, and that you always have someone to talk to. Your Care Coordinator will put together a package of help and support that's specially tailored to your situation, from relevant advice booklets to contact numbers for counselling and other support services - whatever they feel you might need. 
If you'd like them to, they can also refer you on to other specialist services outside of Victim Advice Line. As well as helping you cope and recover, we'll give you tools and techniques to stay strong after you've left us, so you're less likely to be a victim in the future.
Victim Advice Line will be there for you as long as you need us. If you want someone to talk to at a later date, you can always contact us and refer yourself back in.
For further information please visit the Victim Advice Line website or call the team on: 0800 952 3000
Lines are open Monday-Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm.

Victim Advice Line (VAL)
Victim Advice Line (VAL)

True VISION - Report hate crime to the police

Download leaflet: pdf icon Hate Crime - Adults Advice Sheets [354kb]