While any form of victimization can be traumatic, hate crimes are particularly challenging for victims. Unlike random acts of violence, hate crimes are based on an individual’s identity and include acts such as bullying, assaulting, or raping a person due to his or her gender, race, sexual orientation, or membership in a traditionally oppressed group.
The Leicester Hate Crime Project, conducted by the University of Leicester over the course of two years, recently released data on thousands of hate crimes, revealing the nature of the crimes, the people who commit them, and their victims.
The Nature of Hate Crime Victimization
The study tracked hate crime victims from 2012 to 2014. Researchers used a mix of questionnaires, survey data, and in-person interviews, and polled a total of 1,421 hate crime victims. More than half of the people surveyed had been victimized by someone they knew, such as a colleague, coworker, caregiver, or even a parent or spouse.
Nearly 70% of victims reported being victimized by at least one male, and almost 30% reported being victimized by at least one female. Sixty-one percent reported that they were victimized by a white person, with an additional 16% victimized by an Asian person, and 12% victimized by a black person.
The Failure of Support Systems
Victimization can have serious long-term consequences, and about a quarter of study participants reported feeling depressed due to their victimization. Those who self-identified as transgender, mentally ill, or learning disabled felt suicidal at a higher rate than other victims.
Few victims felt they could rely on the criminal justice system as a source of help. Less than 25% reported their victimization to police, and only 4% saw their cases go to court. Many participants also reported that their friends and loved ones didn’t provide the support they needed. The majority of participants endorsed educational measures designed to draw awareness to and reduce hate crimes.
The study’s authors have produced a victims’ manifesto that they hope will shed light on the nature of victimization and guide future treatment of hate crime victims.
- Chakraborti, N., Garland, J., & Hardy, S. (2014, September). Executive summary [PDF]. Leicester: The Leicester Centre for Hate Studies.
- Friend or foe: ‘devastating’ number of hate-fueled crimes are committed by friends, colleagues and carers of victims. (2014, September 22). Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/282813.php
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