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How to get help and support if you're a victim of a hate incident or crime at uni

If you're a victim of a hate incident or crime, it's important to know that we have active support measures to help you feel safer on campus, to signpost you to confidential medical and counselling services and take disciplinary action if needed.

We take every report of hate incidents seriously, and are committed to creating an environment based on dignity and respect.

What is hate crime?

A hate crime is any crime targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards their:

  • disability
  • race or ethnicity
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender identity

Anyone can be a victim of hate crime. You may not be a member of the group the hostility is aimed at, but you may be perceived as a member of that group. For example, you could be called a religious slur without being a member of that religious group.

Hate incidents and hate crimes

Any situation motivated by prejudice towards one of the characteristics above can be a hate incident.

A hate incident becomes a hate crime when a law has been broken and the person who committed the crime can be prosecuted.

However, even if you're unsure if an incident was a crime, it's important that you report all instances of hate incidents to the police. 

A hate incident (and/or crime) could include:

  • verbal abuse
  • offensive jokes
  • bullying, intimidation or harassment
  • physical assault
  • violent threats
  • abusive phone or text messages, hate mail, online abuse or graffiti
  • inciting hate by displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
  • harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, vehicle including arson
  • malicious complaints

Although the law has defined hate crime according to these specific characteristics, the police can also record any attack or situation as being motivated by prejudice if this is the case.

Find out where to get immediate help, urgent or ongoing support and how to report a hate crime and any incident of hate or prejudice to the police and the University. 

Get immediate help

If you're in immediate danger or you're seriously injured, call the police on 999. To contact the police when it's not an emergency, call 101.

Find a safe space – if an incident has just happened, try to find somewhere you feel safe. If you're on campus, call (0)23 9284 3333 for campus security or go to your nearest University building and ask someone to call Security.

Out of hours support

Campus security is also able to contact the 24/7 on-call welfare service offered by our Residence Life Team and Chaplaincy Team, who between them can offer immediate practical and emotional support and will also help you access other forms of support.


Get support

If you experience a hate incident or crime, we want to support you and we'll help you build your support network so you always have someone to talk to, and all the resources you need.

Friends and family

If you've experienced a hate incident or crime, talking to friends and family will give them the opportunity to rally round you and support you every step of the way.

If you're not ready to reach out to your friends or family, there are many people at the University you can talk to.

Your personal tutor

Your personal tutor is always available if you need guidance and support. This includes personal support, so reach out to them if you've been the victim of a hate crime or experienced a hate incident. They will help direct you to support services that can give you the support you need.

If you report your experience to your tutor then they should complete the Report & Support tool to make sure it is recorded by the University, and to help to take the first step towards a formal report, if that is what you wish to do

Student wellbeing services

The Student Wellbeing Service offers free, confidential help. You can book a 1-to-1 appointment with a member of their team to talk about what you're going through. And you can get advice on how to deal with it and whether to report it.

Email the Student Wellbeing Service at wellbeing-admin@port.ac.uk or call them on +44 (0)23 9284 3466.

Students' Union advice service

The Students' Union Advice Service is independent from the University. Advisers are experienced in supporting students to navigate University processes, and can attend meetings and advocate for you through the process of a complaint.

Residence support service

Our Residence Life Adviser Team offer welfare support and advice in halls, including operating a 24/7 on call service.

You can also find Residence Life Assistants (RLAs) in halls from 6.00pm to 10.00pm, Monday to Friday. RLAs are students who've been through their first-year in halls. They have the experience to help you with all types of issues. If you approach an RLA for support regarding serious incidents they will make sure this is referred to appropriate staff members.

Emotional and spiritual support

Our Multi-faith Chaplaincy offers confidential emotional or spiritual support to students of all faiths or none.

As well as being available for drop-in appointments, you can usually contact a chaplain out of hours in an emergency by contacting the University's security lodge on +44 (0)23 9284 3418.

Your doctor

Your doctor has a duty of care to listen to you and give you the best advice they can. They can also help if your physical health is suffering.

Local support services

National support services


Report the incident

If you've been a victim of or witnessed any hate incident or crime, we strongly encourage you to report it. You can report it directly to the police, to the University or both. Even anonymous reporting can help to inform actions and policies to tackle issues.

Reporting to the police

If you're calling in an emergency, call 999. If you're not in an emergency, you can call 101, or report the incident or crime online on the True Vision website. The more details you give, the better equipped the police will be to deal with the case.

Your report will be sent to your local police form. If you wish to remain anonymous, you don't have to include your contact details. However, if you'd like the incident to be investigated or you're willing to act as a witness, you'll need to include your contact information. If you're concerned about the perpetrator of the crime finding out about your report, you can leave contact details for someone you trust as well as your own, if they've agreed for you to do so.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can give you help and support to report the incident and complete the form if you need it.

Reporting online hate crime

Many platforms now have processes for reporting and shutting down hate crime. Find out more about reporting an online hate incident or crime on:

The website Report Harmful Content helps you find out how to report hate crime directly to the platform hosting the harmful content. Once you've submitted a report to the platform the incident occurred on, you can report the incident or crime through the Report Harmful Content homepage and an experienced member of the team will help you investigate and resolve the incident.

True Vision also has advice and guidance for reporting online hate crime to the UK police.

Reporting to the University

Whichever University support service you speak to, you'll get advice about the next steps and support to complete an informal report via the Report & Support tool.

When you make an informal report requesting contact from an advisor through the Report and Support form, you'll be contacted by staff at the University who can give you confidential support, advice and guidance. This is not a formal complaint but staff will support you to decide what further support and action will meet your needs and what you want your next steps to be. They will help you make a formal report and continue to support you through the formal processes if that is what you choose – you will not be put under any pressure to choose a particular course of action.

If you have a complaint against a member of staff or are dissatisfied with the response you've received when reporting, you can email the University Complaints Team at complaintsadvice@port.ac.uk. The team is happy to have an informal conversation about the process to help you decide if you would like to make a complaint.

If you're not ready to report your assault but are happy to talk to a trained Staff member from the University, contact the Student Wellbeing Service at wellbeing-admin@port.ac.uk or call them on +44 (0)23 9284 3466.

Outcomes of a report

We take every report seriously and our priority is to ensure that you are safe and actively supported. If you choose to make a formal report then we'll work with you to identify immediate active support measures to protect you and your studies.

These measures are guided by your wishes and will vary according to the situation, but could include:

  • giving you new rooms in halls
  • arranging for the other student to move elsewhere in halls
  • re-arranging seminar groups to ensure you don't have to work with someone
  • arranging for a mutual non-contact agreement
  • precautionary suspension of the other student
  • helping you arrange extenuating circumstances processes without having to go into detail about what you have experienced

There can also be a variety of outcomes following a formal disciplinary process, which will vary according to the specific circumstances and can also be informed by your wishes. These could include:

  • making interim measures permanent
  • requiring the perpetrator to write a letter of apology and/or undertake education on relevant topics (such as consent)
  • excluding the perpetrator from the campus or from the University as a whole.

What to do as a witness

Our Student Charter highlights the importance of respecting others, being a role model for others and playing your part in the University community.

That means if you know that a friend of yours or someone you know has been a victim of a hate incident or crime – you should encourage them to make a report so we can take steps to support them. It's their choice if they wish to do this, but you can still make an anonymous third party report so that the University is aware of the types of issues that are taking place. This can help to inform ongoing awareness and education campaigns.

Remember, when a hate incident occurs it is never the fault of the victim, and you can support them by reminding them this and letting them know they can talk to you.

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