What is a hate crime?

Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice towards particular groups of people. To be considered a hate crime, the offence must meet two criteria: First, the act must constitute an offence under criminal law; second, the act must have been motivated by bias.

Bias motivations can be broadly defined as preconceived negative opinions, stereotypical assumptions, intolerance or hatred directed to a particular group that shares a common characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, language, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender or any other fundamental characteristic. People with disabilities may also be victims of hate crimes.

Hate crimes can include threats, property damage, assault, murder or any other criminal offence committed with a bias motivation. Hate crimes don’t only affect individuals from specific groups. People or property merely associated with – or even perceived to be a member of – a group that shares a protected characteristic, such as human rights defenders, community centres or places of worship, can also be targets of hate crimes.

Source: http://hatecrime.osce.org/what-hate-crime