Hate Crime and Harassment policy

Part of the Trust’s ASB and Hate Crime Framework - Level 2 policy approval

1.Purpose and Scope

1.1 This Policy sets out the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust’s approach to dealing with Harassment and Hate Crime

1.2 The Trust is committed to tackling Hate Crime and Harassment and has adopted a zero tolerance approach. We recognise the detrimental impact it has on customers, the community and staff.

1.3 The Policy aims to communicate to all residents, stakeholders and staff, the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust’s approach to:

  • Identifying harassment, hate incidents or hate crimes.

  • Responding to reports of harassment, hate incidents or hate crimes.

  • Preventing incidents occurring across our neighbourhoods

1.4 All instances of harassment and hate crime will be investigated following guidance set out in our Anti Social Behaviour Policy and Procedure. This policy forms part of our ASB & Hate Crime Framework.

2. Definitions

2.1 Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 has replaced previous anti-discrimination legislation and has introduced ‘protected characteristics’. For the purpose of this policy the relevant protected characteristics are:-

  • Age;

  • Gender;

  • Gender reassignment;

  • Disability;

  • Race;

  • Religion or belief; and

  • Sexual orientation

2.2 Harassment

Harassment is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as ‘unwanted contact related to a relevant protected characteristic (or diversity strand) which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual’.

2.3 Hate Crime

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has defined a hate incident as ‘any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate’. All hate crimes are hate incidents. However, some hate incidents may not constitute a criminal offence.

2.4 Mate Crime

“Mate crime” is defined as the exploitation, abuse or theft from any vulnerable person by those they consider to be their friends. Those that commit such abuse or theft are known as ‘fake friends’. It is regarded as a form of disability hate crime or age hate crime but can also resemble cases of domestic abuse or violence.

2.5 Most (although not all) Anti-Social Behaviour is random and untargeted affecting people who happen to live in, or be in, a particular area. Hate incidents are targeted and victims are singled out because they are different in some way. This gives rise to a second distinction, which is the danger of repeat incidents. Once identified as being different, victims are more likely to experience further attacks and, even if they avoid this, many will live in fear of being targeted again. Hate incidents, whether or not they are crimes, are a form of anti-social behaviour (ASB), but the distinct nature and seriousness of these incidents is recognised in this policy.

3. Policy Statement

3.1 We will encourage our residents, customers and staff to report all incidents of harassment and hate crime by widely publicising this Policy. The Trust will make sure the Policy is available on demand.

3.2 Adopt a zero tolerance approach to Hate Crime and Harassment caused by, or implicating, our customers and we will investigate all complaints ensuring the victim is at the centre of our approach. 

3.3 We will offer support and advice to victims and witnesses of harassment, hate incidents or crimes. We will take into consideration whether or not the victim or witness wishes to proceed with the case and offer appropriate support to them in all circumstances.

3.4 Accept reports of Hate Crime and Harassment received through our Contact Centre, offices, key partners and via our staff.

3.5 Deal with all cases of Hate Crime and Harassment in accordance with the Trust’s Equality and Diversity, Safeguarding and Anti Social Behaviour policies.

3.6 Adhere to and follow the Trust’s Potential Violent Persons Procedure when staff or contactors are subject to Hate Crime and Harassment.

3.7 Give consideration to the use of a range of enforcement tools, dependant on the type of issues presented including but not limited to civil injunctions, possessions action and the use of mandatory grounds as set out in the Housing Act 1985, as amended, and the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014,, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and mediation.

3.8 Record, monitor and evaluate Hate Crime and Harassment reports and actions and take into consideration customer feedback in order to improve and develop the service.

3.9 In conjunction with our partner agencies, take prompt action against residents who we have grounds to believe are harassing or committing hate incidents or crimes against another person(s) living within the vicinity of their address or visiting their address. This includes acts of harassment to and by our staff and contractors.

3.10 We will offer support and assistance to perpetrators of hate incidents where it is identified they are vulnerable and need support; referrals will be made with perpetrators consent to agencies specialising in for example drugs and alcohol support.

3.11 Recognise that we have a responsibility for our workforce. If harassment or hate crime is perpetrated by a member of staff or a contractor, it will be considered a breach of the Trust’s relevant Code of Conduct. Any complaint about unfair treatment of residents will be investigated promptly and in accordance with procedures and / or contract management agreements.

3.12 We will share information with partner services in accordance with  GDPR provisions, and comply with prevailing best practice guidance relating to information sharing, including signing up to Information Sharing Protocols with key partners where it is appropriate for us to do so.

4. Equality and Diversity

4.1 The Trust will ensure that in delivering our services we continue to be inclusive and representative. This will be achieved through the Trust’s Equality and Diversity Policy. This Policy has been subject to an Equality Impact Assessment to ensure equitable service provision.

5. Value for Money

5.1 The Trust’s primary objective within this Policy is to effectively support victims of harassment and hate crime whilst maintaining a strong commitment to achieving value for money.

5.2 The Trust will, through the implementation of its Anti Social Behaviour Procedure, link with key partners to ensure all cases are managed effectively and efficiently.

6. Consultation

6.1 This Policy was initially developed in consultation with our resident’s forum, Thames Valley Police, The Hate Crime Network, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Senior Management Group and the Executive Management Team. This version of it is broadly the same as the original, and as such, no further consultation has taken place.

7. Implementation

7.1 The Neighbourhood Services Team, in particular the Housing Services Manager and the ASB Case Managers are responsible for the implementation and review of this Policy.

7.2 ASB Case Managers will work with other agencies to ensure that the actions outlined in the Policy are consistently taken to resolve harassment, hate incidents or crimes.

7.3 Regular training of staff, case reviews and audits will be undertaken by the Housing Services Manager.

8. Monitoring & Outcomes

8.1 The Housing Services Manager is responsible for monitoring this policy and reporting outcomes.

8.2 All incidents of harassment, hate incidents or crimes will be recorded as such on the Trust’s housing management system.

8.3 The Housing Services Manager and ASB Case Managers will, on an annual basis, provide a report to the Operations Directorate Management Team on the delivery of its Anti Social Behaviour service; this review will incorporate feedback on harassment and hate crime activities.

9. Period of Review

9.1 We will review this policy when a business need arises and in line with the relevant Policy Framework. Our review programme is driven by service improvement initiatives, changes in legislation, regulation, practice or as a result of feedback from key stakeholders. Typically we review policies on a three year cycle.

10. Related Policies

  • Domestic Abuse Policy.

  • Allocation and Lettings Policy.

  • Equality and Diversity Policy.

  • Data Protection Policy.

  • Tenure Policy.

  • Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy.

  • Safeguarding Adults Policy.

  • Anti Social Behaviour Policy.

  • Hate Crime and ASB Framework.

11. Key Legal and Regulatory References

  • Equality Act 2010.

  • Housing Act 1985, 1988, 1996 and 2004,

  • Data Protection Act 1998 and 2003,

  • Human Rights Act 1998.

  • Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

Policy author details
Author Heledd Williams
Job title Assistant Director of Housing
Email heledd.williams@vaht.co.uk
Phone 01296 732696