No one should experience abuse or discrimination because of how they look. Yet according to our most recent research, a third of people with a visible difference or disfigurement have experienced a hate crime.
The research also found that half of those with a visible difference reported that they experienced hostile behaviours, like stares and bullying. This increase has been steadily rising since 2019 when a third of people reported these experiences.
Through our Visible Hate campaign, we speak out to call for an end to appearance-related hate crimes, incidents and abuse.
On this page, we discuss the abuse faced by many people with a visible difference. We explain what hate crimes and hate incidents are, and how to report them, plus how you can get involved in our campaign to help put an end to Visible Hate.
Millions of people have watched our campaign film, raising awareness of appearance-related hate crime and abuse:
Our latest independent research revealed that:
- A third of people (33%) with a visible difference have experienced a hate crime (compared to 28%) in 2019.
- Half (49%) have experienced hostile behaviour (such as staring and bullying) because of their visible difference, a figure that has been steadily rising from 2019 (34%) and in 2021 (43%).
- Nearly half (47%) say they have felt self-conscious or embarrassed as a result of their visible difference.
- Nearly a quarter of people with a visible difference (23%) said that they didn’t think they would be taken seriously if they reported an appearance-related hate crime.
- More than 1 in ten (12%) say experiencing a hate crime is just part of life with a visible difference.
Our latest campaign activity raises awareness about what hate crimes, incidents and appearance-related abuse are and how to report it.
Our ambassador, Adam Pearson, filmed this message to reassure anyone with a visible difference that hate isn’t something that you should just have to put up with.
We know we can’t tackle visible hate on our own, so we’re encouraging more people to join us and challenge or report unacceptable behaviour if they witness it. Our campaigners and ambassadors are taking action too. They are writing to Police and Crime Commissioners in their areas, calling on them for their support and for them to encourage their local forces to ensure people with a visible difference in their area feel confident to report any hate crimes or incidents they experience.
“As well as hate being directed at me, there have been numerous occasions where this prejudice has spread to the way people treat my partner and daughter too.
“My partner even got physically abused by one overzealous “good Samaritan” who thought my appearance was due to him hitting me. I was shouting at him to stop and trying to explain that I have facial paralysis. I wish he’d just spoken to me first.” Catherine.
Have you, or someone you know, experienced abuse or harassment because of a visible difference? You don’t have to deal with these experiences alone.
You can read about what a hate crime is, the difference between a hate crime and a hate incident, how to report it and where to get support, if you or someone you know experiences appearance-related hate.