Consequences of hate-motivated crime

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Hate-motivated crimes are unique in that they can have effects on the victim beyond those commonly associated with non-hate crimes. The personal characteristics related to hate crime victimization (e.g. race, religion, sexual orientation) are often core elements of the victim's sense of identity and, when targeted, can create feelings of anger and vulnerability. Research on the psychological effects of criminal victimization has found that emotional consequences tend to be more severe among victims of hate crime than victims of non-hate crime (Schaffer, 1996). Other research has suggested that the recovery period can be longer for victims of hate crime (Herek, 1999).

Findings from the 2004 GSS lend support to this previous research.1 In more than one-third (39%) of perceived violent hate crime incidents, the victim indicated that he or she found it difficult or impossible to carry out their daily activities. This compares to 23% of violent incidents involving victims of non-hate crimes. Violent hate crime incidents were also more likely than violent non-hate crimes to result in the victim feeling fearful (35% compared with 17%).

Furthermore, victims of violent hate crime were more likely than victims of other violent crime to feel unsafe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark (37% compared to 23%). Victims of violent hate crimes were also more likely to worry while waiting for or using public transportation (66% compared to 48%).

Other research shows that hate crimes not only produce individual consequences, but they can also impact entire communities. Incidents motivated by hatred can create an atmosphere of fear among all members of a community to which an individual belongs. This, in turn, can heighten tensions between different groups, fragment communities and create further conflict (Schaffer, 1996).


  1. Police-reported surveys do not collect information on the emotional consequences of hate-motivated crime.