Hate crime is defined as any incident, whether a crime or not, that is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards an individual due to their Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Disability.
- Race refers to a person's ethnicity, nationality, country of origin, skin colour, etc.
- Religion refers to a person's religion or faith, even if they have no religion.
- Sexual Orientation refers to a person's sexuality - whether they are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc.
- Gender Identity refers to an individual who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.
- Disability refers to any person with a physical impairment, life-limiting illness, sensory disability, mental ill-health, learning disability, visual difference, or diagnosis on the autistic spectrum.
It does not matter if the person targeted actually has the characteristic that the prejudice is directed toward, only that they are perceived to have that characteristic or belong to that particular community.
Despite the term 'hate crime', the definition covers both criminal and non-criminal incidents; it is irrelevant whether the behaviour comprises a criminal offence. As such, 'hate crime' covers a range of behaviours from discrimination, exclusion, verbal abuse, physical assault, bullying, cyber-bullying, inciting hatred, etc.
There are many ways this might manifest in the school environment. In some cases educating the perpetrator about their use of language and its impact could be preferable to other disciplinary measures, but in all cases it is important to log an incident to ensure an appropriate response is put in place.
This response may involve action and support from outside agencies, and there many different statutory services and voluntary groups that provide specialist support for relating to the five protected characteristics.
This leaflet provides information about a 24-hour helpline for young people under 18 experiencing or witnessing hate crime.
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