Hate crime

A hate crime is a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or anybody else, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards one of their protected characteristics.

Protected characteristics 

There are five protected characteristics covered by hate crime legislation:

  • Disability
  • Gender identity
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation

Who can be a victim of a hate crime

Anybody can be a victim of hate crime. A hate crime or hate incident occurs when somebody is harassed or attacked because of who they are.

Someone could also be targeted because of their age or gender, or because they are perceived as being 'different', for example:

  • Popular culture - e.g gothic, punk, ‘emo’ or other
  • Their dress and appearance
  • They are homeless
  • They are an asylum seeker or refugee
  • They have a different political view or belief

While the above won’t be recorded as a ‘hate crime’, all crimes and incidents are taken very seriously and if you feel that you have been victim to or witnessed a crime take place motivated by prejudice or hostility, it’s very important that the police know about it.

Types of hate crime

A hate crime can take many forms including:

  • Blackmail, stalking, burglary or theft
  • Criminal damage or vandalism to your property or belongings
  • Offensive or insulting graffiti on your car or home
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Threats against you, your friends, or your family

Hate incidents

A hate incident is a non-crime incident which is perceived by the victim, or anybody else, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards one of their protected characteristics.

Hate incidents can take many forms including: 

  • Someone belittling or humiliating you
  • Someone making you feel upset, distressed or degraded
  • Any other incident that isn’t necessarily a crime but still causes you alarm or distress

How to report hate crime

You can report a hate crime to:

The police

In an emergency call 999 to tell the police that there is a danger to life or there is an immediate threat of serious violence.

If it’s not an emergency, you can report it:


You can report a hate crime anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.

Our housing department

If you are a council tenant and you are being subjected to hate crime or antisocial behaviour by another tenant, you should contact your Estate Manager or Area Team to make them aware of the issue.

  • Central Area: 020 8871 5333
  • Eastern Area: 020 8871 7439
  • Southern Area: 020 8871 7288
  • Western Area: 020 8871 5530

If you do not know which area team manages your property, you can check this by looking up your property details.

Organisations that can help

The following organisations can offer support and advice if you have been the victim of hate crime.

Victim Support

Victim Support can help immediately after an incident or any time after the crime has taken place. They will listen to you in confidence and offer information, practical help and emotional support; they are also able to help you to navigate the criminal justice system and make a compensation claim, if you choose to report the crime.

Victim Support have specially trained staff and volunteers. They can help you to cope with the emotional effects of hate crime, support you and other members of your family for as long as you need and give you advice on safety and home security. They also provide help on getting in touch with other organisations and help you to deal with other agencies.

For more information about what services Victim Support team in South London can offer you contact them:

Other organisations


For further information on hate crime email communitysafety@wandsworth.gov.uk.