How to deal with a hate crime?
People react differently when faced with danger – stress can paralyze muscles, impair memory and throw even the most rational person off their feet. In hate crimes, individuals may have similar reactions. Therefore, if possible, stay calm and:
- take care of your own safety first: distract the aggressor so you can escape, run to where people are;
- call 112 for the police, mentioning the need for medics if necessary;
- ask others for help. If you can’t do it yourself, ask them to call the police and medics, stay with you and tell the police what they saw;
- help officers find the attackers: try to remember as many details as you can, write them down if you can, take photos. If possible, record the time and place of the incident, the registration number of the aggressor’s car, the appearance of the aggressor (clothing, height, gender, etc.), the phrases uttered, etc.;
- collect the contact details of witnesses and pass them on to officials (even anonymous witness statements can be very useful);
- Officers and investigators are not always able to understand whether a crime was motivated by hatred. If you suspect that the aggressor was prejudiced and what you experienced is a hate crime, make sure you mention it;
- If you don’t want to report the incident to the police, you can report it (anonymously) to NGOs by filling in an online form. Hate crime is an “invisible” problem. According to official statistics, very few such crimes are recorded, although the experience of different communities shows that hate crimes are widespread;
- don’t blame yourself for what happened. If you are feeling stressed, anxious or having trouble sleeping, don’t be afraid to seek emotional or psychological help.