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.