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What is it like to be a victim of a hate crime?

As part of our continuing Hate Crime Awareness Campaign, we focused on religious and racial hate crime. People of any race and religion can be a victim of hate crime.

Racial hate crime can be anything which focuses on the victim’s race, skin colour, ethnic origin or nationality. Religious hate crime is a crime against someone for their religion or belief, or their lack of religious belief.

Hasina was a victim of religious hate crime in Bristol. She was spat at when she was walking to work because she was dressed in traditional clothing with a hijab. Here she tells her story:

"I was a victim of a racist and islamaphobic hate crime last year. A random stranger repeatedly and aggressively spat in my face and on my head scarf, whilst ranting about the Middle East.

"I felt a mixture of emotions when it happened. Initially I was shocked and I was very tearful for the next couple of days. Eventually I felt angry and determined to get justice. I was also upset at how confident and reassured he had felt that he could do that to me in public, in a busy place in front of others.  Although he was right to feel that as those around at the time didn't ask me if I was OK or even report it to security.

Religious Hate Crime

"That was why the media reporting my incident was so important for me because it validated the fact that this was wrong. If this had gone unreported I doubt I would have received the support I did.

"I reported it to the police and called the local press because I also wanted to make other women aware of what happened so they could be prepared.  He was arrested and the case went to court where he pleaded guilty and was charged.

"I would definitely encourage other victims to report it, it’s a shame there isn't a dedicated point that they could go to in the first instance as it’s not always that easy to call the police mainly because of shock and despair.  I have also encouraged women to carry an additional scarf in case they need to provide DNA.  In my case I repeatedly washed my scarf when I got to work and wore it wet.  I didn’t think about DNA. Luckily for me everything was captured on CCTV but if this happened in a side street the victim may not be so lucky."

Sami was victim of racial and religious hate crime when he moved to the area. He is a muslim, originally from Iran. He sought help from SARI and he now encourages others to seek help and report hate crimes.

Report it

If you are a victim of a hate crime then please report it to the police. Hate incidents - whether verbal, physical or on social media – should be reported to the police. Improved recording of these crimes will enable a better understanding and help identify and improve services for victims in communities where hate crimes are evident.

Anyone with information about a hate incident is asked to report it either by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency or in person at a police station. If you feel you can speak to us, we would prefer to speak to you on the phone or in person, however if contacting us online is the safest way for you to get in touch, you can complete our online reporting form. If you don’t want to contact us directly please use an independent agency or report it online at www.report-it.org.uk

Who else can help you?

The Bristol Hate Crime Service was launched in 2013 and is made of four local organisations:

All of these organisations are there to help and can be contacted on 0800 171 2272. By calling SARI to report a hate crime a worker from one of the above organisations will be allocated to the case. They can help wherever you live in Avon and Somerset.