Understand the signs to identify discrimination and learn how to report it.

The unjust or prejudicial treatment or harassment of people because of their race, gender (including gender identity), disability, sexual orientation, or religion.

Race, gender, age, disability, religion, and sex are known as protected characteristics.

The following are different forms of discrimination against people based on their protected characteristics.

Direct discrimination

Treating a person less favourably than others.

Indirect discrimination

Putting rules or arrangements in place that apply to everyone but that put someone at an unfair disadvantage.


Unwanted behaviour that violates a person's dignity or creates an unpleasant or offensive environment for that person.


Treating a person unfairly because they have complained about discrimination or harassment.

Spotting the signs of discrimination

Discrimination can be difficult to spot, but there are some signs to look for, such as:

  • Verbal abuse, derogatory remarks, or inappropriate use of language related to a protected characteristic.
  • Acts or comments motivated to harm and damage, including inciting others to commit abusive acts.
  • Harassment or deliberate exclusion on the grounds of a protected characteristic.
  • Substandard service provision relating to a protected characteristic.
  • Denying access to communication aids or not allowing access to an interpreter, signer, or lipreader.

Other signs of discrimination may include

  • The person appears withdrawn and isolated.
  • They express anger, frustration, fear, or anxiety.
  • They make complaints about the service not meeting their needs.

Hate crime

A hate crime is a crime that is committed against someone because of their disability, gender identity, race, religion, beliefs, or sexual orientation. Hate crimes should be reported to the police. They can include:

  • Threatening behaviour
  • Assault
  • Robbery
  • Damage to property
  • Inciting others to commit hate crimes
  • Harassment

Remember, if you think a crime is being committed, you should inform the police. 

Find out more about hate crime here.

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