Aston University promotes and supports equality, diversity and inclusion for all. We have zero tolerance for any forms of hatred and systemic injustice and are committed to justice for all those impacted by racism and discrimination.
Hate incidents and hate crimes are terms used to describe acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of that person’s race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. This covers covers a range of actions including damage to property and comments posted online.
Anyone can be a victim of a hate crime or incident if they or anyone else thinks it was motivated by hostility or prejudice towards one of the following characteristics.
- Transgender identity
- Sexual orientation
What is a hate incident?
A hate incident is any incident which may or may not constitute a criminal offence but is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on the five characteristics mentioned above.
Some examples of hate incidents include:
- Verbal abuse eg name-calling and offensive jokes.
- Bullying or intimidation.
- Threats of violence.
- Abusive phone or text messages.
- Online abuse on social media.
- Displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters.
- Harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, or vehicle.
- Throwing rubbish into a garden
- Malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise
Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported.
What is a hate crime?
When hate incidents become criminal offences they are known as hate crimes. A criminal offence is something that breaks the law.
A hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Some examples of hate crimes include:
- criminal damage
- sexual assault
- hate mail
Please note: Actual or perceived incidents are both regarded as hate crime/ hate incident and should be reported.
Race and Religious Hate Crime
Racist and religious crime is particularly hurtful to victims as they are being targeted solely because of their personal identity: their actual or perceived racial or ethnic origin, belief or faith. These crimes can happen randomly or be part of a campaign of continued harassment and victimisation. More information on race and religious hate crime. is available from Citizen's Advice.
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. (IHRA definition)
Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness (APPG report).
Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime
In the past, incidents against lesbian, gay, bisexual people or transgender people have been rarely reported and even more rarely prosecuted. Research studies suggest that victims of, or witnesses to, such incidents have very little confidence in the criminal justice system. More information on homophobic and transphobic hate crime is available from Citizen's Advice.
Disability Hate Crime
Feeling and being unsafe through violence, harassment or negative stereotyping has a significant impact on disabled people's sense of security and wellbeing. It also impacts significantly on their ability to participate both socially and economically in their communities. More information disability hate crime is available from Citizen's Advice.