Discrimination, hate crime and equality

Discrimination and hate crime are against the law. If you’ve been treated differently, unfairly or have been hurt because of who you are, we’re here to help.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is when someone treats you differently, unfairly or worse because of your age, being disabled, your gender, gender identity, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or having a child, your religion or beliefs, your race, skin colour or where you were born or your sexuality.

Discrimination is against the law and can include:

  • being excluded from a sports team
  • being bullied by being ignored
  • not getting a job or being asked to change part of your religious beliefs for work
  • buildings that don't allow you access because of a disability
  • not being allowed into shops or restaurants.

It can sometimes be difficult to describe your experience as there are many types of discrimination. Remember, you have the right to be treated fairly and with respect.

What you can do

  1. Tell someone what's happening. This could be your teacher or your manager at work. They can help to make changes or support you.
  2. Follow policies or guidelines. Your school or employer have a duty to protect you from discrimination. Find out about their discrimination policy so that you can report what's happened.
  3. Keep a record. Messages, videos or a diary of what's been happening can help when telling an adult or be used as evidence.
  4. Keep telling. You may have to speak out more than once about what's happening. It's okay to tell someone else if you don't feel it's being taken seriously.
  5. Tell the police. If you feel threatened or a crime has been committed you can speak to the police on 999 in an emergency or 101 at other times.
  6. Get advice. You can get advice by contacting the Equality Advisory Support Service.

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Hate crime

This is crime which includes prejudice or discrimination. You might be assaulted or have your belongings damaged. Hate crime is where the person focuses on your:

  • disability
  • race or ethnicity
  • religion or beliefs
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity.

It's still a hate crime if someone makes an assumption about your identity. For example, if someone does something because they think you're Muslim.

Hate crime can happen online, in the street, at school, college, work or at home. You might feel frightened, threatened or angry about the abuse. Remember, hate crime is wrong and is never your fault. If you think you may be the victim of hate crime you can report it to the police on 999 in an emergency and 101 at other times. You can also report it to the police online.

Facts about hate crime

  • Race hate crime includes all countries within the UK.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers can get support if they experience hate crime.
  • Both majority and minority groups are covered by the law.
  • There can be an increase in racially or religiously aggravated crimes after incidents like terrorist attacks. Remember, the police are there to protect you.
  • People can get a longer sentence for hate motivated crime.

Equality and the law

Discrimination is against the law. That means that nobody has the right to treat you badly or differently because of your age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. It also protects you if you're married or in a civil partnership, pregnant or you have children.

Discrimination laws are different in different parts of the UK. The Equality Act 2010 applies to England, Scotland and Wales and the Race Relations (NI) Order 1997 applies to Northern Ireland.

The Equalities Act is a law which sets out rules for employers, colleges, schools and services to follow to make sure everyone is treated the same. The law protects you in education, at work, if you join a club and when you buy things like food and clothes. You are entitled to be treated fairly and equally when you use services like travelling on the bus or seeing your doctor and when you rent or buy housing.

Remember that any form of discrimination is wrong. You have the right to education, employment, housing, services and goods whoever you are.

Other types of discrimination

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