Racist and religiously motivated incidents

What a racist or religiously motivated incident is, how to report it and what to do if you need support.

What is a racist or religiously motivated incident?

"Any incident which is perceived to be racist or religiously motivated by the victim, witness or any other person."

The victim or the witnesses' perception is used to 'early-identify' if an incident is motivated by hostility towards the victim's race, colour, nationality, religious beliefs, ethnic or cultural background. Incidents also include:

  • Racism by association - sometimes, you may experience racist or religiously motivated incidents due to your association.
  • Presumed membership of a group - membership of a race, religious or ethnic group also includes presumed membership - even if it is a mistaken presumption. For example, identifying a person from any part of Asia as Pakistani and calling them racist names.
  • Mistaken identity - at times, offenders may mistakenly believe that you are a Muslim or Jewish and may abuse/harass you. Such incidents will also be considered as religiously motivated even if you are not a Muslim or Jewish.
  • Lack of faith - a religiously motivated  incident can be committed against a person consisting of hostility based on the victim having no religious belief or faith.

Early identification will ensure that the relevant agencies (such as police, local authority, schools, housing associations, NHS, etc) will record the incident appropriately and take into account the element of racial or religious prejudice in their investigation.

Direct racist or religiously motivated incidents

  • physical abuse – Spitting, punching, kicking, slapping, pushing or behaviour which leads to physical injury
  • threats – Words of a threatening nature, for example “I’m going to beat you up” or “I’m going to get you and your family” etc
  • verbal abuse – racist name calling, swearing, abusive telephone calls, etc
  • sexual abuse – This can be abuse including degradation, rape, assault, etc
  • written/printed abuse – Letters by post, leaflets or posters using racist language, abusive text messages, abusive messages on the facebook or other social media, etc
  • graffiti/racist language or images –  written/drawn onto property
  • attacks on property/home – eggs/stones thrown at property, tyres slashed, windows broken, etc
  • harassment  –  persistent intimidating or threatening behaviour which is spread over a period of time

How can I report a racist or religiously motivated incident?

We take hate incidents seriously and have developed a number of options to make it easier for you to report. If you have experienced or witnessed a racist or religiously motivated incident, you can report it in a number of ways to the Community Safety Team or Sussex Police.

Reporting anti-social behaviour and hate incidents to the Community Safety Team

If you wish to report racist and religiously motivated incidents, please use our online anti-social behaviour and hate crime reporting form.

You can report all forms of hate incidents and anti-social behaviour through this form.

If you have any queries, please email communitysafety.casework@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call 01273 292735 to speak to a community safety caseworker during office hours (answer machine when the offices are closed).

Reporting to Sussex Police

Sussex Police regard a racist or religiously motivated incident as a strategy incident, the police will treat the incidents seriously and will respond as soon as possible.

If you need an interpreter, the police will be able to provide you with one.

True-Vision online reporting to the local police

You can report all incidents that are motivated by the prejudice of the offender, also known as hate incidents or crimes. For example, racist, religiously motivated, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, and disability hate incidents may be reported through these forms and the True-Vision online facility to the police. You can report all hate incidents or crimes that you may have been the victim of, witnessed, or are reporting on behalf of someone else through the True-Vision website.

  • choose the local police force - to report incidents in Brighton & Hove, please choose Sussex Police from the drop down menu and then click on the 'Go To Form' link.
  • you can give as much or as little personal details as you choose.
  • you can report anonymously, if you wish.

If you are reporting a crime that has been committed, the police will create a crime report and investigate the matter. If you have provided your contact details, the police will contact you according to your consent.

If you do not provide your personal details, the self-reporting forms will be used to monitor the incidents. Learn more about reporting hate incidents and crime through True-Vision.

True-Vision easy-read self-reporting forms

We have developed easy read forms with lots of pictures so people with learning disabilities can report hate incidents themselves, or with help from their carers. These self-reporting forms and easy read forms are available from the True-Vision website.

 You can also request these forms from the communitysafety.casework@brighton-hove.gov.uk

What if I need support?

The Communtiy Safety Team provides casework support to victims or witnesses of racist, religiously motivated, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, and disability hate incidents. Caseworkers will

  • listen to your needs and take your concerns seriously.
  • undertake an initial risk assessment within one working day.
  • arrange to meet you at your home, if you wish.
  • provide language/sign interpreter, if you need one.
  • A single point of contact will be offered to you either from the Casework Team or from one of the partner agencies.
  • if you choose to work with the Caseworker, they will develop an action plan to resolve the complaint.
  • with your consent, we will work with other agencies (police, housing officers, schools, etc) on the agreed actions to
    • solve your complaint
    • take actions against the person/s who is causing the incidents, where possible.
  • support you throughout the process.
  • support you if you have to go to the court.
  • ask your feedback to improve our service.
  • the case will be managed with the aim that the outcome will be both agreeable to the victim and realistic.

If you wish to learn more about what other support is available please visit Victim Support.

If you are to attend the court as a victim or a witness, Witness Service may arrange for you to visit the court before the trial, so you are familiar with the court. They can also assist you in the court proceedings and arrange for special measures.

For a comprehensive guide of the Crown Prosecution Service's policy on racist and religious offences and to view at a glance all racist and religious offences please click the highlighted items.

To find out more about your rights as a victim reporting a crime, please see information (leaflet, poster, video) explaining the new Victims Code. This code tells you what you can expect from each criminal justice agency, including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. You can also download the full Code of Practice for Victims of Crime October 2013.