Racially-motivated incidents most common
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Both police-reported data and victimization data identify motivations for hate crime incidents, although their methodologies differ. For police-reported surveys, the categories of hate crime motivations are mutually exclusive and police may only indicate one underlying motive. In contrast, the GSS allows respondents to indicate multiple motivations for a single hate crime incident.
In both surveys, race/ethnicity emerged as the most common motivation for committing a hate crime (Chart 1). In 2006, about 6 in 10 police-reported hate crimes were motivated by race/ethnicity (including colour and nationality), similar to the proportion reported in the 2001 and 2002 pilot study (57%). The 2004 GSS also found that race/ethnicity was the most common motivation (66%) for hate crime incidents.
The proportions of 2006 police-reported hate crimes and 2004 victim-reported hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were also fairly similar (10% and 11%E respectively). Differences arose, however, for hate crimes motivated by religion and gender. About one-quarter of police-reported hate crimes were motivated by religious reasons compared to 14% of GSS incidents. The difference here is likely due to the limitation of the GSS in collecting mischief to public property offences, which according to police statistics, comprise the majority of religion-based hate crimes.
However, the most substantial difference between the results of the two surveys pertained to the proportion of hate crimes motivated by gender. While gender-based victimizations accounted for less than 1% of police-reported hate crimes, gender was cited as the motivation behind 27% of GSS hate crime incidents.
Part of the disparity in the volume of gender-motivated hate crimes reported by victims in the GSS and police may be due to different interpretations of the definition of hate crime. Research in the United States found that prosecutors tended to under-count hate crimes motivated by gender by attributing certain incidents (e.g. violence directed at women) to motivations of power and control rather than hate (McPhail and DiNitto, 2005). It is possible that similar interpretations exist for police.
Blacks most commonly targeted racial group
Police-reported data provide further details on the type of race, religion and sexual orientation of hate-motivated incidents.1 Among the 502 incidents motivated by race/ethnicity in 2006, half (48%) were targeted at Blacks (Chart 2). Other targeted racial groups included South Asians, such as East Indians or Pakistanis (13%); Arabs or West Asians (12%); East and Southeast Asians, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Indonesians (5%); Caucasians (5%); and Aboriginal people (3%). Another 7% of racially-motivated incidents were not directed against a particular ethnic group, but at multiple races/ethnicities and 6% were categorized as involving other racial groups. Half of all racially-motivated hate crimes were property-related offences and another 38% were violent crimes. The remaining 11% of racially-motivated hate crimes were "other" Criminal Code offences.
Jewish faith most commonly targeted religion
Among the 220 hate crimes reported by police to be motivated by religion, offences against the Jewish faith were the most common, accounting for almost two-thirds (63%) of religion-based incidents (Chart 3). Another 21% were against Muslims (Islam) and 6% were against Catholics. Incidents targeting other religions (e.g. Sikh, Eastern Orthodox) made up the remaining 9% of these types of incidents. Those that were religion-based were primarily property crimes (62%); 26% were violent in nature and the remaining were "other" Criminal Code offences (11%).
More than half of all hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation are violent
About one in ten police-reported incidents of hate crime (or 80 incidents) were motivated by sexual orientation, usually homosexuality (98%). Unlike hate crimes motivated by race/ethnicity or religion, those driven by hatred towards a particular sexual orientation were primarily violent (56%), rather than property related (36%), with common assault being the most frequent type of violation. As a result, incidents motivated by sexual orientation were more likely than other types of hate crime incidents to result in physical injury to victims. The vast majority of incidents resulting in injury were minor in nature; about one in ten were major.
- Detailed information on the type of race/ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation of hate-motivated incidents is not available from the GSS.
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