Bullying, harassment, stalking and hate crime

Bullying, harassment, stalking and hate crime

Support and guidance resources.


What is bullying? Bullying is any persistent behaviour that is intended to hurt someone. It can happen anywhere including at school, at work, online or at home.

Helping children deal with bullying:

Bullying at School, help and advice for parents dealing with school bullying:

Free national helpline for children and young people in danger and distress:

Telephone helpline providing support for parents and provides free parents guides on issues relating to bullying:

Helpline offering advice on special education needs, exclusions, admissions, bullying:

Advisory Centre for Education

Advice for parents and carers to help keep children safe from bullying, wherever it happens:

NSPCC bullying and cyberbullying


Someone you know could be harassing you, like a neighbour or people from your local area or it could be a stranger. Harassment may include:

  • bullying at school or in the workplace
  • cyber stalking (using the internet to harass someone)
  • antisocial behaviour
  • sending abusive text messages
  • sending unwanted gifts
  • unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits

It's harassment if the unwanted behaviour has happened more than once.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is unlawful, as a form of discrimination, under the Equality Act 2010.

The Act says it’s sexual harassment if the unwanted behaviour:

  • violates your dignity
  • creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment (this includes the digital environment, online).

Some examples of sexual harassment would include:

  • sexual comments, jokes or gestures
  • staring or leering at your body
  • using names like ’slut’ or ‘whore’
  • unwanted sexual communications, like emails, texts, DMs
  • sharing sexual photos or videos
  • groping and touching
  • someone exposing themselves
  • pressuring you to do sexual things or offering you something in exchange for sex

Some of these are also forms of sexual or indecent assault. If you’ve experienced any of these it’s not your fault and you don’t have to put up with it. You can report it to the Police or you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers.


Stalking is like harassment, but it's more aggressive. The stalker will have an obsession with the person they're targeting.

Someone you know could be stalking you; an ex partner or a person you were friends with, or it might be a stranger. If it's someone you know, or knew, it doesn't mean that it's your fault; it's still stalking and it's an offence.

Stalking may include:

  • regularly following someone
  • repeatedly going uninvited to their home
  • checking someone’s internet use, email or other electronic communication
  • hanging around somewhere they know the person often visits
  • interfering with their property
  • watching or spying on someone
  • identity theft (signing-up to services, buying things in someone's name)

It's stalking if the unwanted behaviour has happened more than once.

The FOUR warning signs of stalking, if the behaviour you're experiencing is:





For advice and support:

Hollie Gazzard Trust

The charity helps reduce domestic violence through creating and delivering programmes on domestic abuse and promoting healthy relationships to schools and colleges.

Action against Stalking

If you are, or someone you know is, being stalked or harassed, we can put you in touch with other support organisations that understand your specific needs.

Protection against Stalking

A national charity raising awareness of stalking and harassment and supporting victims and their families.

Suzy Lampugh Trust

This organisation aims to create a safer society by reducing the risk of violence and aggression through campaigning, education and support.

National Stalking Helpline - Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Practical advice and information to anyone who is currently or previously has been affected by harassment or stalking.

Revenge Porn Helpline

Advice, guidance and support for adults (aged 18+).

Cyber Helpline

Free, expert help for victims of cybercrime and online harm.

Paladin Service

Not-for-profit organisation providing support, advice and advocacy for anyone at high risk of serious harm from a stalker.

Hate crime and mate crime

What is a hate incident?

A hate incident is an act that falls short of being a criminal act and is therefore not a criminal offence, but is still motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on any of the same characteristics. Parts taken from West Mercia Police Hate Crime website.

Types of hate crime

Hate crime can fall into one of three main types: physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.

Physical assault

Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it. Depending on the level of the violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse, threats or name-calling can be a common and extremely unpleasant experience for minority groups.

Victims of verbal abuse are often unclear whether an offence has been committed or believe there is little they can do. However, there are laws in place to protect you from verbal abuse.

If you’ve been the victim of verbal abuse, talk to the police or one of our partner organisations about what has happened. You’ll find a list of them on our How to report hate crime page.

Even if you don’t know who verbally abused you, the information could still help us to improve how we police the area where the abuse took place.

Incitement to hatred

The offence of incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. That could be in words, pictures, videos, music, and includes information posted on websites.

Hate content may include:

  • messages calling for violence against a specific person or group
  • web pages that show pictures, videos or descriptions of violence against anyone due to their perceived differences
  • chat forums where people ask other people to commit hate crimes against a specific person or group

Mate crime

Mate crime is a form of disability hate crime.

Mate crime is where someone pretends to be friends with a person who is vulnerable (such as someone who has learning disabilities) but then goes on to take advantage, exploit or abuse them.

Mate crime is sometimes hard to identify because the offender is deemed a friend, carer or family member and using the relationship for exploitation. The vulnerable person is often unaware of the person's motives.

For further information on Mate Crime:

How do I report mate crime, hate crime or a hate incident?

If you are worried that you or someone you know may be experiencing Mate Crime, Hate Crime or a Hate Incident please contact:

  • in an emergency call 999
  • for non-emergencies call 101
  • call in at your local police station

to report a safeguarding concern please call Worcestershire County Council's Access, Triage and Intervention Service on 01905 768053 or 01905 768020 out of hours

  • report online to True Vision
  • through a third party reporting centre
  • talk to a trusted friend, family member, support worker, social worker or teacher

All mate, hate crimes and incidents should be reported.

Useful links

Was this page useful?