How Many Hate Crime Victims Know Their Perpetrators?

Close up of distressed person's faceWhile 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.

References:

  1. Chakraborti, N., Garland, J., & Hardy, S. (2014, September). Executive summary [PDF]. Leicester: The Leicester Centre for Hate Studies.
  2. 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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  • Cadence

    Cadence

    September 23rd, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Nothing is ever going to feel right about this but can you imagine how knowing the person who has done something like this to you would make you feel eevn worse? That is such a betrayal of a friendship or any kind of relationship to know that someone that you have known in your life hates you or something about you so much that they feel the need to act on it and then commit a crime against you.

  • jenine

    jenine

    September 23rd, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    So shouldn’t any crime be classified as a hate crime? I mean if you are committing an offense then you obviously have a hate for someone or something and quite possibly it could be yourself.

  • Kyla

    Kyla

    September 24th, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    i FIND IT SO DEPRESSING THAT THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WHO WOULD NOT FIND IT COMFORTING FOR THEIR CASE TO BE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. i MUST BE ALL ALONE IN THINKING THAT THE SYSTEM WOULD WORK FOR ME THE WAY THAT IT WAS INTENDED TO. WHY IS THERE SO MUCH DISTRUST IN THSI TODAY? IF YOU TELL THE TRUTH THEN IT SHOULD WORK OUT FOR YOU EVEN IN THE INSTANCE WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN MADE INTO A VISTIM.

  • ingrid

    ingrid

    September 24th, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    You would have to think that there could be a tendency to disbelieve the victim too when they are telling you that this was done by someone that they know.
    Someone that they know? That you may even know? How could this happen and by this person because the person has never shown you this side of them so it is hard to believe it when it happens and is then reported.
    It can also be doubly hard on the victim to report this because it could be a friend or a family member and even though you shouldn’t you may feel some responsibility when they ahve to face their punishment.

  • tudorFan

    tudorFan

    September 25th, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    I suspect that when you are victimized by someone that you know then it must be a terrible event to get through, thinking that you can’t trust anyone ebcause they could very possibly assault you at some point. I am thinking that it would be very difficult to find it in you to trust anyone ever agai without serious counseling and help getting on with life.

  • James

    James

    September 26th, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    to my dismay I think that the numbers are probably pretty high when it coems to knoing your attacker. Kind of sad huh? I mean, the fact that you have to look someone in the eye while they commit unspeakable horrors upon you? There will be a special place in H*** for someone who could do that

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