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Sadique, K. et al (2018), The Importance of Narrative in Responding to Hate Incidents Following ‘Trigger’ Events

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Type of publication


Geographical coverage


Area/location of interest

Not applicable - national level

Type of Institution




Main Thematic Focus

Hate crime Incitement to hatred or violence

Target Population


Key findings

The report aims to understand post “trigger event” patterns of hate incidents.
The report made the following findings:
• Following a ‘trigger event’ there is a spike in hate incidents - between 24-48 hours online and 48-72 hours offline.
• Government, media and police responses to ‘trigger event’ influence the prevalence and severity of hate incidents.
• When the ‘trigger event’ is a terrorist attack, the target chosen also appears to play a significant role in the prevalence and severity of hate incidents that follow.
• It is important that Muslim communities are given a platform to condemn ‘trigger events’.
• After the Westminster Bridge attack a National 14-Day Plan (terror incident response plan) was
implemented by the Metropolitan Police. It proved to be a significant factor in preventing the expected rise in hate incidents following the event.
• The number of fatalities of a “trigger event” effects the spike in hate incidents.
• Feelings of patriotism associated with the ‘trigger event’ also effect the spike.

Accordingly the following recommendations were made, inter alia:
• Immediately following a trigger event, police forces should implement the National 14-Day Plan.
• Reporting in the aftermath of a “trigger event” must be more balanced and media outlets should be held accountable for inflammatory or inaccurate reporting.
• Social media companies should enforce a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards posts that incite hate.

Methodology (Qualitative/Quantitative and exact type used, questionnaires etc)

• Qualitative
• 560 Newspaper articles were used for discourse analysis
• Analysis of reported hate incidents
• Semi-structured interviews

Sample details and representativeness

Semi-structured interviews with three hate crime professionals and two journalists

DISCLAIMERThe information presented here is collected under contract by the FRA's research network FRANET. The information and views contained do not necessarily reflect the views or the official position of the FRA.