A hate crime means that you are attacked or treated with hostility because of an aspect of your identity, such as your disability, nationality or origin, special needs, sexual or gender identity, beliefs or religion (including lack of religion). Hate crimes can also target alternative subcultures, such as punks, goths, etc.

Such crimes can be committed anywhere: at home, on the street, at work, at school, at university, at sporting events, on social media, etc. A hate crime can manifest in threats, bullying, robbery, violence, destruction of your property, etc. You may be the subject of abusive writing and offensive messages, as well as social media posts.

A hate crime is scary because it is not random. You are attacked on a very personal level – because of who you are. Even if the hate crime does not pose a real threat to your life, it can have a significant impact on your quality of life – causing anxiety, tensions with loved ones, etc. Therefore, it is worth reporting the hate crime to the police in order to find a common solution and prevent the situation from escalating.

If the aggrieved person wants to find answers to their questions and the other party admits what they have done, help can be found from restorative justice.

If you have experienced a hate crime, call the Social Insurance Board’s victim support helpline on 116 006 or the emergency services on 112. You can also chat online with victim support at www.palunabi.ee. Victim support staff are located in every county in Estonia. Find your nearest victim support worker or women’s support centre.