What is Hate Crime?
Until Hate Crime legislation is passed by the Oireachtas, An Garda Síochána define a Hate Crime in Ireland as “any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on actual or perceived age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender.” In simple terms, this means that there are two elements to a Hate Crime - firstly a criminal offence must have occurred and secondly the offence must have been motivated, fully or in part, by hostility or prejudice (hate).
Some examples of Hate Crimes include, intimidation, threats, assault, harassment, criminal damage to your property, manslaughter or murder.
A person, community or institution may be a victim of Hate Crime by virtue of perceived or actual association with a particular group or background.
What is a (Non-Crime) Hate Incident?
A Hate Incident is an incident which is motivated by hostility or prejudice (hate) but which doesn’t reach the threshold for criminality. An Garda Síochána define Hate Incidents as “non-criminal offences which are perceived by any person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on actual or perceived age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender.” These protected characteristics may be amended further in upcoming legislation. Some examples of Hate Incidents include verbal abuse, text, mail or emails or low-level harassment.
A Hate Incident can sometimes be dealt with under anti-discrimination laws if the incident is related to discrimination in accessing good, services, accommodation or employment and you fall under one of the nine (ten for housing) categories of protected people. The IHREC have developed a useful guide if you would like to find out more about your rights.
How do I report Hate Crime to the Gardaí?
You will be attended to by a Garda who will listen to you and if you wish will then record your statement. A statement is required in order to start a Garda investigation. The Garda will commence an investigation, by gathering evidence. This may involve taking statements from all parties involved.
There are currently 331 Garda Diversity Officers, who are trained and supported to actively engage with and attend to the concerns of minority, diverse, and hard to reach communities.
Can I report a Hate Crime to the Gardaí if I am a minor?
Can I report a Hate Crime to the Gardaí on behalf of someone else?
- Click through for Hate Crime Information Leaflets (English).
- For more information on Hate Crime visit Diversity and Integration Unit Web Page including Hate
Crime leaflets in 18 additional languages.
- Click through for informational video on Hate Crime Reporting Service.
- Click through for Garda Let’s Stop Hate Together campaign video.
What other resources are available to help?
How can I be an ally against Hate?
Ask: You have a better chance at getting things right if you are aware. If you are scared of getting it wrong just ask - but also be prepared to do your own research. Your friends/family will appreciate it if you put in the effort to get information first.
Be Aware of any systemic advantages or ‘privileges’ that you may have. Having privilege does not mean that you have no hardships in life (people with privilege can still experience poverty, illness etc.) however it does mean that you don't face hardship by the nature of your identity. Use this knowledge to be inclusive in action and language.
Challenge prejudice when you see it. As a member of a marginalised group it can be exhausting to constantly be the one holding others accountable. Speak up and speak out when you see or hear others being treated unfairly.
Don’t be defensive: When you ask questions or someone corrects you, your natural reaction may be to become defensive. You know that it wasn’t your intention to offend someone. Be open to feedback - just because something is acceptable or inoffensive to you doesn’t mean that others with different life experience will find it acceptable or inoffensive.
Empathy and listening: Don’t assume that someone wants to talk about their experiences but if they do, try to listen with empathy. Don’t minimize their experience. Being asked ‘where are you from’ might not be upsetting for you but can be very upsetting for someone else as it may suggest that you don’t see them as belonging in Ireland.