What is Hate Crime?

Hate crime is a criminal offence. It is an act of hatred or aggression directed at a specific person, group or their property. It is motivated by hostility or prejudice against:

  • A personal characteristic
  • Gender identity
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Faith

This may involve bullying, physical assault, verbal abuse and/or insults, damage to property, threatening behaviour, robbery, harassment, offensive letters (hate mail) or graffiti and inciting others to commit hate crimes. The legal consequences for perpetrators can be serious and range from a fine to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Why Report Hate Crime?

Reporting hate crime is important because it provides a platform from which action can be taken against perpetrators and for the abuse to stop. It can often lead to vital support for the victim and it can also benefit wider society by creating safer public areas.

Hate crime can go unreported for many reasons including:

  • Many people do not know that they can report this kind of abuse
  • People do not know how to report it
  • Some people have reservations or fears around approaching the police or authority figures

An increase in reporting will:

  • Provide more accurate statistics which leads to better services within the justice system and improves how hate crimes are responded to
  • Challenge attitudes and behaviours that endorse hatred towards anyone perceived as ‘different’
  • Encourage early intervention to prevent situations escalating
  • Increase confidence for victims in coming forward to seek support and justice
  • Ensure that the right support is available for those that need it
american, cop, car

How to report Hate Crime

In an emergency, ALWAYS dial 999 or 112 – All calls are free and will be answered by trained operators. If you are in immediate danger, or to report a crime in progress, dial 999 or 112 as above.

Other ways to contact the police:

  • Dial 101 to report non-urgent crimes or to make an enquiry
  • Call in at a police station. You can search by postcode via: http://www.police.uk
  • In incidents where the victim of a hate crime does not wish to approach the police directly there may be a police liaison officer for their region, or a Community Safety Partnership Department. Call 101 for further advice on this.
  • Reporting hate crime online: http://report-it.org.uk/your_police_force
  • Understandably it can sometimes be very difficult to report an incident alone. If you do not have a friend or family member to accompany you, help with reporting via voluntary and other agencies can be found here: http://www.report-it.org.uk/organisations_that_can_help
  • You can also report hate crime anonymously via Crimestoppers here: 0800 555 111 / https://crimestoppers-uk.org

Always tell someone if you have been the victim of a hate crime. You can speak to a digital mentor at Ditch the Label who can help you in dealing with this. Join the community today.

what is online hatespeech

If you’ve got something to say…

Every single person who uses the internet is vulnerable to cyberbullying, trolling and online abuse. Whether you are an Instagram extraordinaire, a fan of Twitter or a Snapchat pro – it could happen to anyone at any time and celebrities are far from immune. In fact, it seems as though the more followers you have, the more likely you are to be trolled.

Where social media, on the one hand, gives us the opportunity to voice our opinions on anything from politics to pan-frying a sea bass, it also gives people with a nasty agenda a chance to voice hateful thoughts and ideologies. It goes without saying that in providing a wonderful platform for people to publicly spread cat videos and hilarious memes, (👍🏽) also comes the opportunity to spread hate speech (👎🏽). This can be incredibly dangerous, hurtful and distressing for those on the receiving end and anyone else who’s viewing it.

So, What is Hate Speech?

Hate speech is when somebody says, writes or shares something which attacks a person or group of people on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. Much like hate crime, it specifically targets people who are of a certain group.

For example, if you’re being directly messaged by someone who is saying nasty things about your appearance or hobbies but not specifically about your race/religion/sexuality or ability – that’s not considered hate speech, it comes under the umbrella of bullying or online abuse.

Unfortunately, in today’s political climate, hate speech is not uncommon. all too often we’re seeing people spouting some rather questionable views very publicly online or purposely targetting individuals who don’t conform to specific expectations or views.

Nobody deserves to be targeted in this way – the internet is a space for everyone and nobody or group of people should feel marginalised, intimidated or isolated. If you’re being targetted with hate speech, always remember that it is never a problem with you, the problem always lies with the perpetrator.

What does the Law say?

Well, it’s a bit of a grey area, different countries and regions have different stances on the illegality of hate speech. In the UK for example, it’s an offence to incite hatred based on a person’s race, religion, sexuality or disability. It is not, however, an offence to stir up hate about a person’s gender or identity (something which really needs to be addressed because unfortunately, hate speech towards women and misogynistic language used online is prolific and increasingly violent.)

Where does it happen?

Hate speech takes place both on and offline – it’s easy to get away with saying something hateful to a person’s face because unless that person reports it – who’s gonna know, right? (that doesn’t make it OK, btw). Hate speech online, however, is far more public so naturally, you’d think it could be policed better than it currently is.

New technologies emerge all the time that attempt to quell the tide of horrible words that come flooding in online. Many networks have a reporting system and some are even monitored, but it’s simply not enough to keep up the ever-changing nature of language and online behaviour.

Example: You might be familiar with Pepe The Frog. A seemingly benign meme which was co-opted by hate groups and other individuals in 2016. Pepe the Frog soon came to be seen as a symbol of racism and anti-semitism across various online spaces.

There has also been a murmur of suspicion to suggest some hate groups use specific emojis to symbolise their ideologies online making it notoriously diffuclt to police. In any case, communications which target specific individuals or groups in people in hateful ways, come under the umbrella of hate crime – Hate crime is illegal.

What about Celebrities?

There have, of course, been several high profile cases of online hate speech – Michelle Obama springs to mind. The former American First Lady received endless online abuse throughout her husband’s presidency; some of it personal, some of it targeting her race, her religion and her nationality. It was ruthless but one thing’s for sure, the people trolling her would probably never have said it to her face.

Celebrities and those with large social followings are often in the firing line for hate speech and some have spoken out about it. Others say that it comes with the territory of being very active on social media.

Whatever your view, no one deserves to be on the receiving end of hate speech, online abuse or trolling of any kind – if you see it, report it. If you’re experiencing online abuse, read this for more information on what to do.

Don’t be a Bystander…

Is it ok to troll a ‘troll’?

The answer is no. If you see someone sharing hate speech online, don’t engage – by opening up a discussion with them you give them a platform to incite more hatred. By trolling them back you’re reciprocating their behaviour. The best way to deal with someone who is being nasty online is to disengage and report. Again, if that person is sharing hate speech, report it. Here’s some more info on reporting online abuse or hate speech. If you see something, report it.

Click on the images below to find out specific information on reporting online abuse and hate speech on social networks:

Want to talk it through first?

If you’re being targeted, talk to a Ditch the Label digital mentor for more specific advice and help on what to do next.

Join the community today, we’re here for you.

what to do if you're experiencing racism

Our research found that 34% of young people reported being bullied for prejudice based reasons.

Racism is a hate-crime; it is illegal to treat someone differently because of attitudes towards their race, religion, nationality or culture. Unfortunately we can’t identify the exact reason why somebody decides to act in a racist manner – racism, like a lot of other prejudice-based hate, is a learnt behaviour.

No-one is born with the ability to read or sing a song, nor are we born with the ability to discriminate against someone because of where they were born or the colour of their skin.

People who are racist, normally feel threatened or intimidated by a culture or race that is not well-known to them or that they have limited understanding of. Unfortunately, instead of taking the time to understand or embrace that difference, they act negatively towards the unknown.

Is it Racism?

People experience racism in many forms; including physical attacks, verbal abuse, damage to your property, racist jokes, threats and cyber-bullying (this could be via email or social media). If someone is making you feel uncomfortable – It is your right to report it.

Some people find it hard to determine whether or not they are experiencing racism, as everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be bullying; to help clarify – the police define hate crime as:

‘Any incident, which constitutes a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.’

If you are experiencing racism, it can be incredibly difficult to know what steps to take next, so DTL compiled 6 tips to help guide you through the process. If you are experiencing racism and need any help or advice, or just someone to talk to – do not hesitate to reach out to Ditch the Label – join the community today.

1. Don’t see yourself as the problem

Know that what you are experiencing is in no way your fault – never blame yourself for what is happening to you. Always remember the person bullying you is the one with the issue, not you. You are not being targeted because of your race, it is because of the attitude towards this factor. The only thing that needs changing is their attitude – you are perfect as you are ❤️. 

2. Speak to them

If you feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, try talking to the person who is being racist. Remember to challenge the behaviour, not the person – instead of accusing the person of being a racist, explain that their behaviour or words are racist and have caused you distress – explain that it’s not ok to say those things.

It might be appropriate to request that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between you and the person who is being racist. A mediation can be scary but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between you and the person bullying you in a controlled, equal environment.

If this is something you are considering, read this first.

what to do if you're experiencing racism, girl, in seat, black and white image

3. Report it

If you are experiencing racism from somebody you go to school or college with, report it to a teacher immediately. If somebody is threatening you, giving out your personal information or making you fear for your safety, contact the police or an adult immediately. It is important that you tell someone that this is going on.

4. Walk away

Whether you experience a micro-aggression or a more blatant form of racial hostility, make sure you are first and foremost, aware of your safety; you are under no obligation to have to respond to this kind of behaviour and can choose to walk away at any time. However, if you feel it is appropriate to speak with them or call out their behaviour, see point 2.

5. Get support

It is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining and taxing to endure racism. This stress can have impact on all areas of your life, including your mental wellbeing, ability to communicate with others, performance in school and self-esteem.

It is therefore incredibly important to tell somebody that you trust about what you are going through; it doesn’t even have to be an adult – it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label.

We also have a really simple exercise available on our website called Stress Reprogramming which you can do either alone or with somebody else in around 30 minutes. The exercise will help you see stress differently and hopefully help you on your journey forward.

6. Look after yourself 

It is important during this time, that you take good care of your mental wellbeing. As well as finding a support system, you need to make sure you are looking out for yourself too.

Little things like eating a balanced diet, working out, getting a good night’s sleep, relaxing and having quality time with friends and family can really improve your physical and mental health, which will in turn, reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity of vision, allowing you to clearly analyse difficult situations, which will make them much easier to deal with.

If you feel you need further support, it is important that you seek emotional and mental support from your GP, a therapist or counsellor.

Join the Ditch the Label community to see what others have to say about their experiences and have your say in a safe and equal environment – we want to hear from you! 😍