A hate crime is a criminal action or behaviour that is perceived by the victim or any other person as motivated by hostility towards a person’s:
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity
A hate incident is similar, except the action may not be a criminal offence. Hate incidents are still considered to be unacceptable behaviour by the University.
Importantly, hate crime and hate incidents are not defined based on the perception or intention of the perpetrator, but on the perception of the victim or witnesses. This means that someone saying ‘it was just a joke’ does not mean that it was not a hate crime or hate incident.
Hate crimes do not have to be violent physical assaults. Verbal abuse and incitement to hatred are also hate crimes and there are laws in place to protect people from these hate crimes and should be reported to the Police. Anyone can be a victim of hate crime. You do not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is aimed. For example, you could be called a religious slur without being a member of that religious group, and this would still be considered a hate crime or incident. This type of discrimination could be because of perception (someone thinks you are a member of that group), or by association (someone is abusing you knowing that you are friends with members of that group).
We take incidents of bullying, harassment or unacceptable behaviour towards any student, staff member or visitor on any basis very seriously. If you have experienced such behaviour you can find more information here about speaking to an adviser, reporting anonymously, and/or accessing wellbeing support.