Hate Crimes and Incidents
Crimes and incidents, which are motivated by hatred, can be extremely distressing for victims and communities. They attack core personal characteristics which form part of a person’s identity, and their effects can have a significant impact on the wider community.
Halifax Regional Police is committed to combatting hate crimes and incidents and would encourage anyone who believes they have experienced a hate crime or incident to report it. The Hate Crime Unit will be notified of all reports that contain details of confirmed or suspected hate motivation.
What is a Hate Crime?
A Hate Crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the suspect’s hate, bias, or prejudice, based on the victim’s real or perceived ancestry, race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion/creed, sex, age, mental or physical disability, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor.
What is a Hate Incident?
A Hate Incident involves behaviours that, though motivated by hate, bias, or prejudice against a victim’s real or perceived ancestry, race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion/creed, sex, age, mental or physical disability, gender identity and/or expression, or sexual orientation, are not criminal acts.
What is the difference between a Hate Crime and a Hate Incident?
Hate crimes involve criminal offences against a person or property.
Hate incidents involve behaviours which, although offensive, do not meet the threshold for a criminal offence. It is still important to report hate incidents as they improve our understanding of how hate is impacting our communities, and can help us determine appropriate action as we work towards keeping our communities safer.
How do I report a Hate Crime or a Hate Incident?
If there is an immediate threat to life or property, call 911.
Otherwise, call the non-emergency line at 902.490.5020.
When providing details to the call-taker, include why you believe the matter to be hate-motivated.
What is the law in relation to Hate Crimes?
Think of the term ‘Hate Crime’ as a category, which any offence has the potential to fall within. The Criminal Code addresses hate crimes in two different ways, through:
- Five specific hate-motivated offences; and,
- For all other offences, the hate element shall be taken into consideration upon sentencing.
The specific hate-motivated Criminal Code offences are:
- Section 318(1) – Advocating Genocide
- Section 319(1) – Public Incitement of Hatred
- Section 319(2) – Wilful Promotion of Hatred
- Section 319(2.1) – Wilful Promotion of Antisemitism
- Section 430(4.1) – Mischief to Property used for Religious Worship/by an Identifiable Group
The majority of hate crimes reported to police involve criminal offences which do not fall into the above sections. They tend to involve offences such as assault, property damage, uttering threats, and criminal harassment.
In those instances, where the investigation results in a prosecution and conviction, then Section 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code states that the sentencing court should take into consideration ‘any evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, or on any other similar factor’, and increase the sentence to account for these aggravating circumstances.