One quarter of Brits have witnessed a hate crime in the past year – poll

A quarter of Britons have witnessed a hate crime in the last 12 months, new research released today says.


While three quarters of hate crime seen was verbal abuse, more than one fifth of 2,007 people surveyed had seen violent or hostile acts triggered by religion or belief.

The release of the research, commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, coincides with Holocaust Memorial Day, which is themed "Don't stand by."

The day commemorates the more-than six million Jewish people killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust, and the millions more killed in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

"When we look back to the Holocaust and to other genocides, we learn that they happened because cultures were created and encouraged that allowed persecution to flourish. People stood by and tolerated increasing persecution, sometimes, because they were afraid to speak out against it," said Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

"We thought 25 per cent of people having witnessed at least one hate crime in the past 12 months was shocking," she added.

Seperate research from the Everyday Antisemitism Project, where Jewish people share their experiences of discrimination, found a surge in discrimination against Jews in the UK. The project reported a rise in submissions, with 303 received in the last three months of 2015; far above the average of 32 submissions recieved per month during the last two years.

Out of those surveyed by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, 69 per cent said that they regretted having not intervened when they saw hate crime.

The survey focussed on incidents that involved ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity issues.

Young adults intervened or challenged hate crime most frequently (17 per cent), while just 13 per cent of 25-34 year-olds and 7 per cent of those aged 35-44 had done so.

Of the 10 per cent who said they had been victim to a hate crime, only 40 per cent said that people nearby had intervened.

Online abuse had been seen by 28 per cent of those questioned, with 77 per cent of them saying they saw no difference between online abuse and verbal abuse in person.

Recorded hate crime has increased by 18 per cent in a year, according to statistics released by the Home Office in October.

"We all need to reflect on the fact that the path to genocide begins with exclusion and discrimination, and that standing by allows hatred to take hold," said Marks-Woldman.

Secretary of State for communities and local government, Greg Clark, emphasised the importance of the theme – Don't Stand by – as "one we should all adopt, so that hatred is challenged wherever and whenever it occurs."