Hate crime

We believe all our customers should live their lives free from fear of harassment and abuse. We’ll take action against anyone who commits hate crimes, whether the people being abused or harassed are tenants, leaseholders, family or friends, staff, or contractors working on our behalf. The answers to the following questions will give you more information:

What’s hate crime?

Hate crime is any violence or harassment that you think is motivated by a person’s prejudice. Someone’s prejudice is the opinion they have about something or someone, without knowing the full facts.

The most common forms of hate crime come from prejudices based on:

  • race
  • national or ethnic origin
  • sexual orientation
  • disability
  • colour
  • gender or gender identity
  • religious belief.

Hate crimes can include:

  • violence or threats of violence
  • abusive or insulting words or behaviour
  • damage or threats of damage to property
  • graffiti
  • arson or attempted arson.

Please report anything you find threatening or abusive immediately.

What should I do if I’m a victim of hate crime?

Consider if you can solve the problem yourself by talking to your neighbour before making a complaint to us. Your neighbour might not realise that their behaviour is upsetting you.

We believe the best long term solutions happen when the people involved talk to each other about their worries. We can advise you on how to approach your neighbour so that you have the best chance of solving the problem.

This might not always be possible, or there might be a risk of violence. You can contact us in these cases by:

  • reporting the problem online
  • emailing us details of your complaint
  • calling us
  • writing us a letter
  • visiting us in person.
What happens when a complaint is made?

We’ll do the following if we receive a report of hate crime:

  • act within 24 hours of the report being made
  • visit you at home (or another place) to talk to you about what’s happened and agree what needs to be done next. You can have a friend or relative with you if you want to
  • arrange for you to talk to someone from a local support group or Victim Support
  • contact witnesses and interview any people you say are causing a problem (with your permission)
  • keep you informed of what we’re doing at all times
  • make sure the action taken has been effective by keeping in touch with you until you say the situation has been resolved
  • monitor reports of hate crime and provide reports to our boards of management.
How will Orbit treat a report of hate crime?

We will:

  • always take your complaint seriously
  • not talk to anyone about what you’ve said without you agreeing to it
  • act quickly to deal with the situation, e.g. remove offensive graffiti and carry out repairs needed as a result of the incident as a matter of urgency
  • be honest with you about the possible outcome of the case
  • put you in contact with the best people to help you
  • support you to contact the police
  • do everything possible to help you move to another home if the matter can’t be solved
  • support you to stay in your home if you don’t want to move
  • take legal action where needed
  • allow you to give feedback on our handling of your case.
How’s Orbit working to prevent hate crime?

We believe in more than just acting on reports of abuse. We aim to stop abuse from happening in the first place. To do this we will:

  • tell customers about our hate crime policy 
  • make sure our tenancy agreements allow us to take legal action against harassers where needed 
  • tell people about legal action taken to stop harassment 
  • not offer a home to you if we know that you are in danger of being abused in that home.
What support will I receive if I’m a victim of hate crime?

We understand how scary it must be to be threatened, or to have your home threatened. Our first priority if you’re threatened in any way will be the safety of you and your family.

Some people will want to move to another home permanently. We’ll be sympathetic to transfer requests but will consider them a last resort, to be made only after all other means of resolving the problem have failed. We have a limited number of homes so it may be that re-housing you wouldn’t help stop the harassment. We also believe moving harassment victims sends out the wrong message to the perpetrators of these crimes.

Please contact us to discuss your options.

What action will be taken against perpetrators of hate crime?

The action we’ll take will depend on the evidence available. We may not be able to do much if:

  • there’s not much evidence
  • the action isn’t witnessed
  • evidence is contradictory.

We might need to gather more evidence before we can do anything to help. We might only be able to talk to the offender. But whatever happens, we’ll keep in touch until you’re happy that the matter has been resolved.
We’ll work with partners like the police if the evidence is clear and substantial (with your permission).
We’ll talk to the parents or guardians of any young people who commit a hate crime. The local youth service may also be contacted. We might ask the young person to sign up to an acceptable behaviour contract that says they won’t harass you again.

We’ll speak to legal advisors and will take court action in the most severe cases. This may result in a fine, an injunction or an anti-social behaviour order for the offender. We’ll seek to evict any customers who find themselves in this position as a result of committing a hate crime.