POLICE across Dorset are raising awareness of hate crime.

Hate crime is a criminal offence perceived by the victim, or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate towards a person's protected characteristic.

Examples of protected characteristics are disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or transgender identity. Hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, physical assault, harassment, and damage to property.

A spokesman from Dorset Police said: "It's recognised that a hate incident can be just as damaging to victims as hate crimes, and we know that incidents can lead to the identification of crimes.

"If someone is bullied because of their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, or transgender identity this is also dealt with, either as a hate crime or non-crime hate incident."

To report a hate crime, contact: 101.

To remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.