Students Staff

Reporting hate crime

Hate crimes or prejudice-based incidents are defined as any incident, which may constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hostility towards a personal characteristic. The protected characteristics are:

  • race or nationality
  • religion and belief (including having no faith)
  • gender and gender identity
  • disability
  • sexual orientation

The crime can take many forms including:

  • physical attacks, such as physical assault, damage to property, offensive graffiti, neighbour disputes and arson
  • threat of attack, including offensive letters, abusive or obscene telephone calls and other intimidating behaviour as groups or individuals
  • verbal abuse or insults, abusive gestures
  • other abuse, such as offensive leaflets and posters, unfounded and malicious complaints and bullying

Hate Incident Reporting Centre

Hate Incident Reporting Centre logoHate Incident Reporting Centres (HIRC) are community venues where individuals can report hate incidents and hate crimes, either as a victim or a witness. A HIRC can act as an alternative place for reporting hate crimes/hate incidents rather than directly to the Police. A HIRC works in collaboration with Essex Police and other partner agencies to provide support and information during the reporting process.

Hate Crime Ambassadors

Hate Crime Ambassador logoHate Crime Ambassadors (HCA) are community members who raise hate crime awareness and promote reporting of hate incidents and crimes. They are trained to take details of hate crimes/incidents and report these to Essex Police. University HCAs are members of staff or students volunteering with Nightline or Residence Life.

  • Contact the University of Essex HIRC

    Any member of the University, staff or student, can make a report to the HIRC. A number of confidential University services have trained HCAs who can take your report. Regardless of which HCA you report to, you are making a report to the HIRC, not the individual service within which the HCA usually works.

    If you are at immediate risk of harm or in danger you should call the Police directly:

    • via the Patrol Staff if you are at Colchester Campus, 01206 872222
    • via University Square reception, 01702 328408/07827 988085 or Norland reception 01702 328508 at Southend Campus
    • at Loughton telephone 999 then inform either reception during office hours on extension 5983 or 020 8508 5983, or security from 5pm to midnight (Monday to Saturday) on 07825 670709

    To book an appointment to make a report to a trained HCA, please email and someone will respond to arrange a suitable time. When you email the team please let us know when you would prefer to make your report as this will help us allocate the case to the most appropriate HCA. Appointments can be offered flexibly and will always take place on campus.

    Loughton Campus

    Students based at our Loughton campus are welcome to contact the HIRC. However, please be aware that Loughton is on the operational boundary between Essex Police and the Metropolitan Police who have different reporting processes. Depending on where an incident may have taken place, we may need to advise you to contact the Metropolitan Police directly as they have a different reporting system for hate crime. If we are able to assist you in making a report to Essex Police, we will offer you an appointment via Skype.

  • Your appointment with a Hate Crime Ambassador

    Your appointment will take place in a private room, usually within one of the University support services. The HCA will ask you a series of questions and you will be asked to describe the situation you are reporting – this will be recorded in your own words and you will have an opportunity to review the record before it is passed to the Police. Reports can be made anonymously if you prefer.

    In addition to passing your report to Essex Police the HCA may also give you information about University services who can help with ongoing support.

  • What to expect from the HIRC

    HCAs are trained to take details of the incident you wish to report and relay this to Essex Police. All incidents that are defined as hate crimes will then be referred (by Essex Police) to an officer who will get back in contact with you. It is possible to report an incident anonymously to the HIRC, but this will limit any action Essex Police are able to take. As part of the reporting process, the HCA will ask for your consent before your personal details are shared with the Police.

    Reports are normally relayed to the Police via their non emergency number 101 whilst you are present. If you, or the HCA, considers someone to be in immediate danger, they will call the Police emergency number. Details of the incident will only be shared (with your permission) with Essex Police and their partners and all reports are stored confidentially. Please note that where there is a significant risk of serious harm to an individual, HCAs are required to share information with Essex Police without consent being given.

Further information

If you have questions about any aspect of this information or any problems, please contact the HIRC at Find out more about the Stop the Hate campaign in Essex.

Essex Police logo Stop the Hate logo