VICTIMS of hate crimes have spoken out and urged others to come forward to report their experience to the police.

Brighton beach patrol volunteer Charlie Cressey approached a drunk man in Hove to help out, only to suffer homophobic slurs and abuse.

Meanwhile, Rexha Besnik said he suffered racist abuse in Bexhill from two women who followed him to his workplace after a near-miss in a car.

Police Superintendent Rachel Swinney said hate crimes “create fear and humiliation” for victims.

A hate crime is defined as an offence that a victim or member of the public believes has been caused by someone’s bigotry or hatred. Crimes can be committed because of hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender, or a disability.

Charlie described an incident of trying to help a drunk man at Hove beach in May.

The man became abusive and started shouting homophobic insults and was arrested for homophobic-aggravated public disorder.

Charlie said: “This experience has helped me realise that any form of hate crime is not acceptable and people do not have to be living with the fear of being a victim of it.

“There are so many people that will look out for you if you speak out. For myself, Sussex Police was a great support and helped me through it all.”

Charlie agreed with the man responsible to accept a £60 donation to Brighton Beach Patrol and an apology letter.

Rexha Besnik was also a victim of hate crime in Bexhill in April. He was on his way to work when he was nearly involved in a car crash.

The occupants of the other vehicle went to his workplace and spouted racist abuse, and one of the women damaged his sunglasses.

Rexha said: “I am glad that I reported the matter to police. The hope is these people will not do the same again.

“I have found reporting the incident a positive experience and was offered victim services which also helped me.

“I am happy with the police, they were quick to respond and I was kept updated of the outcome.”

Both women were given a caution for racially-aggravated public disorder. One of the women was also given a caution for criminal damage.

Superintendent Rachel Swinney said: “Hate crime is damaging, disrespectful and creates fear and humiliation. This can impact not only on those directly exposed to it, but also the wider community.

“It’s not OK to be targeted because of who you are, or because of who people think you are.”

She said reports are taken seriously and help is available for victims. Crimes can be reported on the Sussex Police website, via 101 or in an emergency call 999.