Hate crimes and radicalisation

Evidence suggests that there are increasing risks of children and young people being drawn into extremist ideology, violence and terrorism.

Hate crime is motivated by hostility to certain individuals or groups with due to their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

It is a criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person or group within the above-mentioned groups.

Evidence suggests that children and young people are being drawn into extremist ideology, violence and possible terrorist acts, through radicalisation.


 “ ‘Hate crime’ can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. These aspects of a person’s identity are known as ‘protected characteristics’. A hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property”.


In 2016/17, there were 80,393 offences recorded by the police in which one or more hate crime strands were deemed to be a motivating factor

  • 29% increase from 2015/16 across all categories
  • 62,685 (78%) were race hate crimes; 27% increase
  • 9,157 (11%) were sexual orientation hate crimes; 37% increase
  • 5,949 (7%) were religious hate crimes; 27% increase
  • 5,558 (7%) were disability hate crimes; 53% increase
  • 1,248 (2%) were transgender hate crimes 45% increase

The Home Office report this  “…is thought to reflect both a genuine rise in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum and following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack, as well as ongoing improvements in crime reporting by police.”

Schools have a real opportunity to influence and develop our national culture and values, creating exposure to a range of views, encouraging openness and challenge, and dealing effectively with issues when they arise. Hate crimes in schools often take the form of harassment and bullying including violence.

Spotting the signs

Vulnerabilities to undertaking hate crimes

  • aggression
  • non-compliance at school
  • low self-esteem, depression or anxiety
  • chaotic home lives
  • substance misuse
  • change in behaviour and appearance


Signs of victimisation

  • unexplained absence from school
  • change in dress or behaviour
  • depression or anxiety
  • self-harm
  • substance misuse

What you can do

Ensure any incident of bullying is tackled swiftly – follow school policy and procedures

  • promoting equality
  • avoiding stereotyping
  • dispelling societal stereotypes
  • embracing difference
  • demonstrating tolerance
  • prompting equality of opportunity across the curriculum

Be aware of vulnerabilities to participation and victimisation – know your pupils and provide support and sign posting. Risks of radicalisation can be addressed through Channel procedures.

Create an environment based on equality and informed choice – provide information to allow pupils to make informed choices. It is well established that success in learning within a supportive school community can tackle prejudice and inequality.

Provide resources to assist reporting – hate crime is a serious offence no pupil or staff member should suffer victimisation at school, the school community should have access to internal and external reporting such as reporting online.

Check young people have safe relationships – in their family, with their peers and with your staff. Create the environment where it’s ok to talk even about the most difficult things.

Spot the signs & know what to do – use the checklists above, and most importantly your relationships with young people. Follow your safeguarding procedures and be confident in hate crime as a possibility.

Take action – any concerns should be raised with the designated safeguarding lead. If a child is in immediate danger call 999 and keep taking action until you know they’re safe

For resources to develop staff knowledge of safeguarding, subscribe today.

Termly subscription

£99 Schools and Colleges

Subscribe today

Log In

Join safeguarding network for more information on how to identify and intervene in schools.

  • Training resources for DSLs to use in team meetings
  • Reference documents for additional information
  • Handout for school staff summarising hate crimes and radicalisation
  • Quiz to test staff understanding
See sample About us