What is a bias crime?
A bias crime is a criminal offence motivated against persons, associates of persons, property or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by an offender’s bias against an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived; race, religion, ethnic/national origin, sex/gender, gender identity, age, disability status, sexual orientation or homeless status.
A bias incident is an incident committed against persons, associates of persons, property or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by an offender’s bias against an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived; race, religion, ethnic/national origin, gender, gender identity, age, disability status, sexual orientation or homeless status but does not constitute a criminal offence.
The effect of bias crime on victims
- Feeling isolated and vulnerable
- Feeling that your self respect has been taken away from you
- Feeling embittered, angry, frustrated
- Having a sense of self blame
- Protecting yourself and finding yourself on the wrong side of the law
- Loss of faith in the police and the criminal justice system
- Feeling like retaliating but scared of reprisals
- A break down in family relationships
- Finding it difficult to cope
- Having a sense of despair
- Finding that nobody believes you
- Feeling hated by others
- Feeling afraid to let your children out
- Suffering emotional/mental stress
- Hating your home and wanting to move
- Becoming overcome by panic and anxiety
Why people don't report
- I don't want the hassle
- It will go away if I ignore it
- This must be normal behaviour
- I will get used to it
- There might be repercussions
- I might be called a trouble maker
- This is probably an isolated incident
- I can handle it myself
- Nothing is going to be done anyway
- It is not serious enough to report
- I don't want to get anyone into trouble
- It might affect my career
- Fear of police.
Why should you report it?
- Bias crime is rarely a one off incident - There is usually a very small chance of you being a repeat victim of a crime. However, victims of bias crime are more likely to suffer repeated, constant and daily abuse from the same person/s.
- The effect of bias crime - Crime can have a devastating psychological effect on you. Bias crime often consists of a series of crimes, the cumulative effect of such incidents and crimes can destroy lives through emotional damage and long term trauma.
- Feeling of insecurity - For victims of bias crime, the risk of attack may be constant. Feelings of insecurity can result in anxiety and a continuous state of watchfulness, and inability to sleep.
- It is good to be a statistic - If victims of bias crimes do not report it, government agencies and policy makers will not know the extent of the problem in order to take important steps through legislation, training, etc to address it.
- Don’t let them get away with it - Bias crime is committed by people who do not care who suffers and to what extent. If they go unchallenged, they will continue to put others in danger. Report it so they can be caught before others suffer.
Tips on keeping safe
- Stay alert - awareness is your best defence
- Leave venues with friends if possible
- Be confident - even if you don't feel like it
- Walk as if you know where you are going
- Trust your instincts - if you think something is wrong, act on it
- Have your keys in hand when you reach your car or home
- Keep money for taxis; the expense is worth it
- Carry a personal alarm and use it
- Do not challenge the offender
What to do if you're a victim of a bias crime
- Get to a safe location as soon as possible
- If the crime is happening call Triple Zero (000) and ask for police
- Ensure that you tell the operator your name, location and contact number
- If the crime has happened, attend or call your local police or the Police Assistance Line 131 444
- If you believe that the crime was bias motivated, tell the officer that you believe it was bias motivated and why
- Ensure that you record the event number given to you by police for future reference
If you receive threatening letters/phone calls/social media content
- Print a copy of the post/comment
- Don't delete the post/comment
- Record the time and date the comment was posted
- Record the user name of the person who made the comment
- Don't reply to the post/comment
- Contact Police
- Limit the amount of contact you have with the letter
- Do not show it to other people and let them touch it
- Keep the envelope
- Place the letter into a paper bag with the envelope
- Contact Police
- Record the date and time you received the call
- Record a description of the call, including voice, background noises, what was said, etc.
- If you have caller ID, record the number of the incoming call
- If the call relates to a bomb threat, don't hang up the phone
- Contact Police
- Print a copy of the email (including the extended header if possible)
- Don't delete the email
- Don't reply to the email
- Contact Police
What you can expect from the NSW Police Force
- Your report taken seriously no matter how minor or trivial it may seem
- Treated honestly, fairly and with respect at all times
- Explained the process and what will happen
- Kept informed about what is going on with your case
- Informed of the outcome of the investigation
- Told by police if someone has been charged in relation to your matter