Hate incidents and hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are (or who someone thinks they are). 
 
 
Hate Incidents will tend to be more minor occurrences such as offensive jokes, spitting at someone, hoax calls, throwing rubbish into your garden, graffiti or vandalism of belongings or abuse or threats online.  Just because these actions are small does not mean they can’t have a serious impact. 
 
 
If the behaviour taking place is also potentially a criminal offence, then it would be a Hate Crime.  This would most typically be actions such as assaults, criminal damage, harassment, sexual assault, theft, fraud or hate mail . 
 
 
Some types of behaviour may be a Hate Incident or a Crime, and you don’t need to decide which it is – that can be sorted out later.  The main thing to know is that behaviour falls into this category (Hate Incident/Crime) if it is hostile or violent behaviour aimed at you because you have a particular characteristic, or because someone believes that you do.  These will usually be one of the protected characteristics, however if you are targeted due to belonging to a subculture (such as being a Goth) this could also count. 
 
 The particular 'Protected Characteristics' under the 2010 Equality Acts are:
  1. based on your/their gender.
  2. based on your/their gender identity (called gender reassignment in the Equality Act).
  3. based on your/their race, nationality or ethnicity. 
  4. based on a disability they or you may have.
  5. based on your/their sexual orientation.
  6. based on your/their age.
  7. based on your/their faith, or lack of faith.
  8. based on your marital/civil partnership status.
  9. based on pregnancy/maternity
The characteristics highlighted in bold can be included in hate crime/ incident reporting
(all of these can be based on a perceived characteristic, so the person does not necessarily need to have the characteristic).

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