Sexual Orientation Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents

A sexual orientation hate crime is defined as any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.

A sexual orientation hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their sexual orientation.

Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported and recorded.

Evidence of the hate element is not a requirement. You do not need to personally perceive the incident to be hate related. It would be enough if another person, a witness or even a police officer thought that the incident was hate related.

Hate crime can fall into one of three main types: physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.


Sexual Orientation

What do we offer?

Our aim is to help you recover from your experience and from any harm caused to you as a result and we can support you:

  • To report the crime to the police if you wish to
  • By liaising with the police and other key agencies on your behalf
  • To exercise your rights as a victim as determined by the Victims Code of Practice
  • To access Restorative Justice
  • To address any financial, emotional or practical issues you may have as a result of what has happened
  • To understand what will happen if your case goes to court and to support you through this including attending court with you

What happens when you contact Uniting Staffordshire Against Hate?

When you contact us, a member of our team will listen and talk with you about your experience, so we can understand how it has affected you and what help you may need.

We will assess your support needs and provide you with advice or information to answer any immediate questions you may have.

We can also allocate you with your own Victim Care Coordinator if needed, who will provide you with both face to face practical and emotional support through this difficult time.

Types of hate crime

Hate crime can fall into one of three main types: physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.

Physical assault

Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it. Depending on the level of the violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse, threats or name-calling can be a common and extremely unpleasant experience for minority groups.

Victims of verbal abuse are often unclear whether an offence has been committed or believe there is little they can do. However, there are laws in place to protect you from verbal abuse.

If you’ve been the victim of verbal abuse, talk to the police or one of our partner organisations about what has happened. You’ll find a list of them on our How to report hate crime page.

Even if you don’t know who verbally abused you, the information could still help us to improve how we police the area where the abuse took place.

Incitement to hatred

The offence of incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. That could be in words, pictures, videos, music, and includes information posted on websites.

Hate content may include:

  • messages calling for violence against a specific person or group
  • web pages that show pictures, videos or descriptions of violence against anyone due to their perceived differences
  • chat forums where people ask other people to commit hate crimes against a specific person or group