What is Hate Crime

What is Hate Crime?

Police Definition of Hate Crime – Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s actual or perceived race, religion, [disability], sexual orientation or transgender identity.

This includes crimes that are:

  • homophobic,
  • biphobic,
  • transphobic,
  • towards those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans (LGBT)
  • towards those who are perceived to be LGBT.

Many people experience incidents that involve everyday verbal abuse or derogatory language

this may be a crime, report it

It could just be a public order offence but is still a crime.


“I’m a gay woman. As I was walking along holding hands with my partner someone threatened to beat us up.” – Report it

“I’m a trans woman. As I waited for the bus a woman shouted out, ’you tranny freak, you shouldn’t be allowed to be outside’. It left me feeling really shaken and upset.” Report it

“I’m a gay man. I noticed a rowdy group of men walking along a crowded street on a Saturday night. They were chanting ‘we hate queers’.” – Report it

“I heard a religious person preaching homophobic remarks in the street. Aren’t they committing a Public Order Offence?” This is freedom of expression – unless it incites hatred.

If you are hit / assaulted while experiencing obviously homophobic, biphobic or transphobic comments…

…then this is a crime, report it.

Physical violence is a crime in its own right. If it is hate motivated then the punishment or sentence is stronger.


“I’m a bisexual man. As I was leaving my local LGBT pub I was followed, jumped on and hit by a group shouting ‘fucking queer’.”

What about people making prejudiced comments or offensive jokes?

If you feel it is motivated by prejudice – then report it as a hate crime incident, even if you are not sure.

Keep receiving messages either on my phone or through emails?

If you feel it is motivated by prejudice – then report it as a hate crime incident, even if you are not sure.

When in public I always hear an individual commenting to the crowd how bad the LGBT community is.

This may be a crime if they are encouraging others to commit crimes against someone or a group of people based on their sexual orientation, through:

  • words
  • behaviour
  • pictures
  • videos such as YouTube
  • music
  • websites
  • chat forums
  • social media.

If the content is calling for violence against lesbian, gay or bisexual people then this is incitement and is a crime.

Incitement towards transgender people is not covered in the same way, in law, but any form of incitement is wrong and should be reported.

If in doubt and you feel it is motivated by prejudice – then report it as a hate crime incident, even if you are not sure.

I think I’m being blackmailed about who I am.

“I’m a bisexual man and I’m married to my female partner. A colleague found out I’m bi and is threatening to tell people I’m really gay unless I give him £5000.”

This is a crime. It is an offence for someone to try to obtain money or gifts in return for not revealing someone’s true sexual or gender identity.

Report it as a hate crime incident, even if you are not sure.

Refusal of goods, facilities or services


“My partner and I were holding hands in a café. The owner asked us to stop or we’d have to leave. Isn’t that a hate crime?”

Being refused services (which includes goods and facilities) because of your gender identity or sexual orientation is discrimination and is illegal under the Equality Act 2010.

However, it isn’t a criminal offence though, so the police cannot take action.

Options might include talking to a charity for advice, making a complaint to the organisation that refused you a service or getting legal help to take action in court.

This information was produced using a resource produced by Galop, an LGBT anti-violence charity providing support, advice and advocacy to people facing hate crime, domestic abuse or sexual violence. It is a part of a series of 17 resources on hate crime for LGBT people and service providers, created on behalf of the National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership. Find out about our work at www.galop.org.uk and www.lgbthatecrime.org.uk
The information was originally produced in 2016 by Nick Antjoule.