Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of the Equality Act?

The Equality Act brings together the different anti-discrimination laws to promote equality for all. The Equality Act covers different types of discrimination.

  • Direct discrimination is when someone experiences discrimination because of one of the protected characteristics, such as disability. For example, the use of Mosquito devices, installed by shopkeepers to stop large groups of teenagers congregating outside stores which emit an unpleasant, high-pitched noise that can only be heard by those under 25, would be an example of direct discrimination against young people.
  • Indirect discrimination - where what looks like a neutral provision or policy is applied to everyone, but people with a particular protected characteristic are at a disadvantage.


2. What are human rights?

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world. We all have human rights simply because we are human and they cannot be taken away. They make sure people:

  • can live freely and are able to flourish
  • can reach their potential and participate in society
  • are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

The Human Rights Act 1998 made human rights part of our national laws. People in the United Kingdom can also complain to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if they feel their rights under the European Convention have been breached.

The first step in challenging discrimination is to learn more about your rights under the Equality Act 2010.


3. Do young people have rights?

Yes – rights relate to all aspects of a young person’s life including their education, health, environment, protection and work. To help young people achieve their rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has been adopted by the Welsh Government. The Convention is not a law but sets out standards which make sure:

  • all rights apply to all young people without exception
  • the best interests of all young people must be of primary concern
  • the views of young people must be taken into account when decisions, are made which affect them.

For more information about the UNCRC visit the Welsh Government website ‘Let’s Get it Right!’ at:


4. How do schools promote community cohesion?

Community cohesion describes how people who live and work in the same place get along. Schools have a crucial role to play in creating a learning environment that:

  • is characterised by respect and racial and religious tolerance
  • helps learners gain a sense of belonging to their local community and country whilst also learning to value and respect other cultures and traditions outside their immediate experience.


5. What is harassment?

Harassment is unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic that violates someone’s dignity or creates an offensive environment for them. It can either be a serious one-off event or be a ‘course of conduct’, i.e. it happens on a number of occasions.


6. What is the difference between harassment and bullying?

Harassment and bullying both involve behaviour which harms, frightens, threatens, demoralises, upsets or humiliates the victim. Harassment is always linked to the Equality Act and concentrates on age, gender, race, ethnic background, colour, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability. Harassment may be a single incident or a series of incidents. However, bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect and by one or more persons which undermines the victim.


7. What is victimisation?

Victimisation is treating someone unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment.


8. What is hate crime?

Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s:

  • disability
  • race or ethnicity
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender identity.

Hate crimes can be committed against a person or property. A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime.


9. What is disability hate crime?

Disability hate crime is:

‘…any criminal offence, which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s impairment or perceived impairment.'

Some people think that because a person may not be able to walk, or see, or need help with understanding things, that they are a second class citizen and are thought of as weak, strange or different. Some people think that if a disabled person receives benefits or an adapted car or home then they are getting better treatment than them.They then may think it is acceptable to call them names, take money off them, or beat them up. This is direct discrimination and may also be a hate crime.


10. What is homophobic hate crime?

A homophobic hate crime is:

'...any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.'

Lesbian, gay and transgendered learners in a school should not be discriminated against and should be protected from homophobic language, attitudes and bullying.