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 a racist or religiously motivated incident is

"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, and NHS) 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”
  • verbal abuse – racist name calling, swearing, abusive telephone calls
  • sexual abuse – this can be abuse including degradation, rape, assault
  • written/printed abuse – Letters by post, leaflets or posters using racist language, abusive text messages, abusive messages on the facebook or other social media
  • 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 you can 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 Brighton & Hove City Council or Sussex Police or via a third-party reporting centre. 

Report to Sussex Police  

In an emergency phone 999 and ask for the police. 

If it is not an emergency you can contact the police by phoning 101.   

You can also report online at www.sussex.police.uk.

Report to Brighton & Hove City Council  

Council tenants, council leaseholders and tenants of leaseholders should report Hate Incidents to Housing Customer Services by: 

You can also report Hate Incidents online.  

Housing association tenants should report Hate Incidents to their housing provider. Brighton & Hove City Council cannot intervene in housing association cases.  

The Community Safety Team  

Private rented sector tenants and owner occupiers can report Hate Incidents to the Community Safety Team by: 

You can also report Hate Incidents online.  

Third-party reporting centre - Racial Harassment Forum

You can report Hate Incidents to the Racial Harassment Forum by phone 01273 234 017 or 07563 389 482. Phone lines are open from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

True-Vision online reporting to the local police 

Incidents that are motivated by prejudice, also known as Hate Incidents or crimes include:

  • racist
  • religiously motivated
  • homophobic
  • biphobic
  • transphobic
  • disability hate incidents

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. You can give as much or as little personal details as you choose, and you can report anonymously, if you wish. 

If you're reporting a crime, the police will create a crime report and investigate. If you've given your contact details, the police will contact you according to your consent. 

If you do not provide personal details, the self-reporting forms will be used to monitor the incidents. 

Find out more about reporting hate incidents through True-Vision.

True-Vision easy-read self-reporting forms

If you have a learning disability or care for someone that does, you can download easy read forms to report hate incidents. 

 You can also ask for these forms by sending an email to communitysafety.casework@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

Learn more about other support that's available on the Victim Support website

If you have to go to court as a victim or a witness, you can get support from Victim Support. They may arrange for you to visit the court before the trial so you are more familiar with the court. They can also help you in the court proceedings and arrange for any special measures you need. 

Code of Practice

Find out more about your rights as a victim reporting a crime. The victims' code tells you what you can expect from each criminal justice agency. This includes the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.

You can also download the full Code of Practice for Victims of Crime from the gov.uk website.