Context and characteristics of hostility on the basis of race or religion

We are proactive in seeking feedback and information to support more effective prosecution of hate crime. This includes the nature of offending and its impact, awareness and understanding amongst communities concerned and our effectiveness in response. In supporting this, we work closely with community-focused organisations, criminal justice partners and others.

Our  approach to ensuring quality hate crime prosecutions includes robust assurance and performance data regimes; regular dialogue at national and local level; assessment of internal and external research and sampling as well as feedback from the scrutiny of cases involving Local Scrutiny and Involvement Panels and National Scrutiny Panels.

External research

Research from community organisations, academic institutions and others confirms essential characteristics in terms of the prevalence of hate crime, the nature of offending, its impact and responses to it.

Research undertaken by the Welsh Government highlighted a number of relevant factors in relation to the nature of racially aggravated offending:

  • In relation to their most serious incident, two-thirds of victims reported knowing their perpetrator.
  • In relation to their most serious incident, just over two-thirds of victims reported being victimised by more than one perpetrator.
  • Of the victims who reported to the police (46%) three quarters (75%) stated they did so because they felt it was the right thing to do.
  • Of the victims who did not report to the police one quarter (25%) stated they did not do so because they believed the incident was too trivial.

In terms of the impact of such offending, one study identified a range of commonly described effects:

  • 95% of victims felt that hate crime had detrimentally affected their quality of life.
  • Hate crime victimisation had become a routine feature of everyday life for many participants, and particularly those who felt cut-off from ‘mainstream’ society.
  • Victims employed a range of strategies to feel safer and to reduce the risk of victimisation, including avoiding public spaces and attempting to conceal their identity.
  • Hate crime is known to have a significant emotional and physical impact on the victim, their family and, in some contexts, their wider community.

A summary of research encompassing Gypsy and Traveller communities, found that:

  • Gypsies and Travellers can be vulnerable to theft or harassment, particularly in marginal unauthorised sites.
  • Their experiences with police and other agencies do not encourage them to trust that they will be taken seriously.
  • Some Gypsies and Travellers have adopted a resigned approach towards such experiences, downplaying them and seeing them as an intrinsic part of their cultural experiences, and not expecting assistance from the authorities.

Community Security Trust

  • The Community Security Trust works on behalf of the Jewish community in the UK and provides a third party reporting service.
  • The highest and second-highest annual totals of antisemitic incidents recorded by CST came in two years – 2009 and 2014 – in which there were significant trigger events, in the form of conflicts in Israel and Gaza that caused sharp but temporary increases in the number of antisemitic incidents recorded in the UK.
  • 57% of British Jews who had experienced antisemitic violence or the threat of violence had not reported it; and 46% of British Jews who had suffered antisemitic vandalism to their home or car had not reported it.

Tell Mama

  • Tell Mama provides a third party reporting service.
  • 95.8% of its online incident reports in 2015 concerned anti-Muslim abuse and 92.5% of these incidents also involved the dissemination of anti-Muslim literature. 46.3% of all recorded online incidents had been reported to the police.
  • Offline anti-Muslim attacks were overwhelmingly carried out by white males. The victims of offline anti-Muslim attacks were generally female. A significant number of victims reported being targeted while wearing distinctively Muslim dress.
  • Through an analysis of data immediately before and after jihadi Islamist attacks in Sydney, Paris and Copenhagen, the organisation noted a spike in the number of reported anti-Muslim cases in the periods immediately following each attack. Such spikes in incidents were more consistent in the reporting of online incidents.

Further reading