The Centre for Hate Studies

Recognising the support needs of victims

We conducted two major studies which were designed to highlight the support needs of hate crime victims. These studies took place in two different geographical areas - Hertfordshire and the West Midlands - and involved people who had been targeted for different aspects of their identity. Both of these studies generated much-needed knowledge on the emotional, physical and health support needs of hate crime victims, and on how statutory and voluntary sector service providers can meet this demand.

Collectively, more than 2,000 actual and potential hate crime victims shared their opinions on and experiences of hate crime through surveys and in-depth interviews. Key findings include that:

  • Race was the most commonly cited reason for why an individual had been targeted, followed by dress and appearance, age, religion, gender and physical disability.
  • The majority of participants had been verbally abused, with more than half stating that they experienced this regularly.
  • Significant proportions of participants stated that they were unlikely to report being verbally abused or harassed to the police.
  • Participants did not report their experiences because they feared it would not be taken seriously, that hate crime formed part of their 'everyday' life and that the process was time consuming and emotionally draining.
  • Participants needed support services that responded quickly, treated them with kindness and compassion, and offered both emotional and practical support.

This insightful research gives a frank and honest view of hate crime, drawing directly on experiences of Hertfordshire residents. Hate crime is intolerable and I am dedicated to reducing the number of victims that experience it. In partnership with Hertfordshire Constabulary and the County Community Safety Unit, we are now well on the way to commissioning specialist services for victims of hate crime to help them cope and recover from their experiences.

David Lloyd (Hertfordshire's Commissioner)

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