A hate crime is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as a criminal offence motivated by prejudice based on a person's disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
A hate crime can take many forms including:
- Physical assault
- Damage to property, offensive graffiti and arson
- Offensive letters
- Abusive or obscene telephone calls
- Groups hanging around to intimidate
- Unfounded, malicious complaints
- Insults or harassment - taunting, offensive leaflets and posters
- Abusive gestures
- Dumping of rubbish outside homes or through letterboxes
- Bullying at school or in the workplace.
A judge sentencing the killers of Sophie Lancaster, who was beaten to death in Lancashire in 2007, recognised her death as a hate crime because her and her boyfriend were targeted for being goths.
News that Great Manchester Police have begun classifying assaults on goths, punks and emos as 'hate crimes' has sparked a debate on Twitter: