Certain groups are subject to more abuse, and suffer more harm but there is no clear and agreed definition for hate crimes and speech online. This page provides an overview of the help available for people experiencing hate incidents and crime.

What are hate incidents and crimes?

Hate incidents and crimes are perceived by the victim, or other people, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person’s actual or perceived race (includes nationality or ethnicity), religion or faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.

Hate crimes and incidents can encompass a broad range of acts, including threatening behaviour, harassment and verbal abuse, online abuse, criminal damage, assault and sexual violence.

These resources provide a helpful summary of the information contained on this page:

What to do if you witness a hate incident or crime

If you witness hate crimes or incidents, it is important to support, record and tell someone.

  1. Support the victim: Make sure they are safe and away from the offender. Make it clear they are not alone.
  2. Record it: Any evidence recorded or preserved from the incident will be important if there is an investigation.
    • Record a video or take photos of the incident if you can.
    • Preserve any physical evidence.
    • Write down details of the time, location and people involved.
  3. Tell someone: Tell the nearest authority or responsible person – this could be a bus driver, security guard or reception desk. Call 111 if someone is in danger.

Report hate incidents

If you, your friends or whānau have experienced abuse, violence, threats, or intimidation motivated by hostility or prejudice, it is extremely important that you report it.

  1. Report to Police: If someone is in danger or an incident is happening now, call 111 immediately. If an incident has already happened and no one is in immediate danger, report it online
  2. Human Rights Commission: The Human Rights Commission offers a free, informal enquiries and complaints service to deal with unlawful discrimination and racial and sexual harassment issues. If you have faced unlawful discrimination, you can make a complaint or call 0800 496 877
  3. The Department of Internal Affairs: Countering Violent Extremism Online. The Digital Safety Team at DIA investigates content that clearly or potentially relates to violent extremism. You can report violent extremist content here
  4. Netsafe: Call Netsafe on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723). Submit a harmful content report

What to do if the abuse is happening online

Netsafe is available to help anyone experiencing harm on the internet. If you’re experiencing bullying, abuse or harassment we can explain how the Harmful Digital Communications Act (HDCA) may apply to you. The 10 communication principles in the HDCA say that a digital communication should not denigrate a person’s colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Regardless of what’s happening to you, Netsafe will work to find solutions and provide advice for any person harmed online.

If you experience or see hateful content on a social media platform, you should report the harmful content directly to the platform it is on. If you are not sure how to report content directly to the platform, or are having difficulty doing so, Netsafe can help.

  • If you’re concerned about the publishing of content which is likely to excite hostility against, or bring in to contempt any group of persons (Section 61 Racial Disharmony of the Human Rights Act 1993) you can contact the Human Rights Commission for further advice.
  • If you are concerned about any threats made against a person or group of people and/or the actions of an individual, please let Netsafe know.

If you are concerned about immediate threats to you or someone else, please call 111 and report to the Police.


If you are the victim of a crime, no matter how serious, support is available. Victim Support can help you deal with the emotional and practical effects of the crime, and provide information to help you understand the legal process.

Find out more by visiting www.victimsinfo.govt.nz or call 0800 842 846

Other support

There are a range of resources and services available to help including phone and online services and information, as well as face to
face support.

  • Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 | Text 4202 | www.depression.org.nz
  • 1737: 1737  phone and text | www.1737.org.nz
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 TAUTOKO
  • The Lowdown: 0800 111 757 | Text 5626 | www.thelowdown.co.nz
  • Lifeline: 0800 LIFELINE | Text HELP or 4357 |www.lifeline.org.nz
  • Iwi Liaison Officers: Police has a group of Iwi Liaison Officers who help navigate cultural issues and work on improving police relationships with Māori. The group is made up of police officers and police employees, based in every police district in the country. To find contact details for your local Iwi Liaison Officer visit www.police.govt.nz/iwi-liaison-officers
  • Ethnic and Pacific Liaison Officers: Police has specialist liaison officers working in communities around the country. They can listen to any concerns and work with you to improve safety in your communities. To find contact details for your local Ethnic or Pacific Liaison Officer visit www.police.govt.nz/ethnic-liaison-officers
  • Diversity Liaison Officers: Diversity Liaison Officers (DLOs) are located throughout New Zealand to provide liaison between Police and those in our community who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (Rainbow communities). To find contact details for your local Diversity Liaison Officer visit www.police.govt.nz/diversity-liaison-officers
  • Neighbourhood Support: Neighbourhood Support works with Police to bring neighbourhoods together to create safe, resilient and connected communities. To learn more about starting or joining a Neighbourhood Support group, visit www.neighbourhoodsupport.co.nz or call 0800 4 NEIGHBOURS


Our helpline is open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on weekends. You can make a report to Netsafe by:


The content on this page has been developed by NZ Police, the Human Rights Commission, The Department of Internal Affairs: Countering Violent Extremism Online and Netsafe.