In the aftermath of the EU referendum, reports of hate crime have risen 57% according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
From racist graffiti on a Polish community centre in Hammersmith, west London, to a bottle of “ignited liquid” thrown at an employee of a halal butchers in Walsall, the climate has become much more hostile for many immigrant communities.
Anti-racism activists and the police have provided advice on how to respond to these incidents.
Call the police
The Metropolitan Police’s advice is simple: “Call the police. Report any crime via 101, or 999 if it’s an emergency.” Don’t be afraid to do this if you’re concerned that a situation could get worse.
If you can’t call for some reason, the emergency services now have a text number primarily intended for the deaf.
Filming on your phone is a way to bear witness, but it’s not a substitute for reporting the crime.
Report it online
True Vision, the police’s anti-hate crime initiative, has a page that enables victims to report crimes to their local police service.
Do not use online reporting when the attacker is still present or may return, or when someone is seriously hurt or in danger, however – the phone is the best way to get an immediate response.
In situations of verbal abuse in public, witnesses can often help by stepping in. United Against Racism, in an example of a black woman being harassed on public transportation, recommends intervening “non-aggressive but decidedly”. The group says: “If one person reacts, others are likely to follow.”
In many situations, making clear the comments are not acceptable or welcome can deter the perpetrator. Attract the attention and help of others – and act immediately.
Give as much information as possible.
Find an organisation that can help
There are many great groups in the UK who work with various communities on discrimination. Use this list to check if there is one that applies to your situation.
What can you report as a hate crime?
Any incident motivated by hostility to the victim on the basis of disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or trans identity – including not only physical attacks but harassment, verbal abuse and graffiti too.
If you are the victim or you are reporting a crime on behalf of a victim, the following information will be useful, according to Citizens Advice:
How you were attacked
If you know it, the identity of the attacker and where they live or, alternatively, what the attacker looked like and/or what they were wearing
What, if anything, was said by the attacker, particularly anything insulting about your race or religion
Why else you regard the attack as having been racially or religiously aggravated
If you have been attacked before, when and by whom
Where the attack was made
When the attack was made (date and time of day or night)
The nature of any injuries sustained. It might be helpful to obtain medical evidence
If anyone else was attacked
The names and addresses of any witnesses.
You do not have to reveal your identity, although the ability of police to pursue an attacker will be limited if they cannot contact you.