Hate crime

In this part you will learn more about hate crime, more specifically about anti-LGBT hate crime. After finishing this part you will know when a crime can be qualified as a hate crime and what the consequences of a hate crime can be for the victim.

Hate crimes in general
Hate crimes are a specific form of crime since these crimes are targeted against the victims because of who they are (their identity). Hate crime can take different forms. One might think of hate crimes against people based on race, faith, gender or a disability.

Hate crimes always consist of two elements: (1) a criminal offence that has been committed with a (2) bias motive. The first element means that the hate crime is an act that constitutes an offence under criminal law. The second element means that the crime is committed because of a prejudicial bias against a particular group. The bias motive can involve everyday feelings such as hostility or jealousy toward the target group. Extreme hatred toward a victim is not needed. Hate crimes include all different forms of abuse, such as physical attacks, sexual violence,  verbal abuse, bullying, intimidation, threats, stealing or damaging ones belongings, blackmail, stalking or encouraging others to target the hated group. 

Impact of hate crime
The impact of a hate crime can be enormous because it is usually greater than just the physical and material harm. A hate crime targets the core identity of a person which increases the emotional and psychological harm. Furthermore it could increase feelings of vulnerability because the victim cannot change the characteristics that make them a target. A hate crime can effect a victim in several ways, emotionally (e.g. fear and anger), socially (e.g. damaged confidence, social isolation) and economically (e.g. missing work). Victims could also experience difficulties regarding their health (e.g. depression, insomnia), self-expression (e.g. fear of speaking out or being themselves) and within their social network/community (e.g. feelings of vulnerability for friends and family). As mentioned before, hate crimes also send a message to the whole community. Hate crimes do not only affect the individual but the entire group the victim belongs to.

Anti-LGBT hate crimes
Anti-LGBT hate crimes involve homophobic, transphobic or biphobic abuse. These three types of abuse can take many different forms. One might think of  negative attitudes and beliefs about, aversion to, or prejudice against people who are identified or perceived as lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transsexual. LGBT-abuse  is often based on prejudices, misunderstanding, false information, stereotypes, or fear that may or may not have deep social, religious, historical, cultural, or other justifications.

As you have read before, hate crime consists of a bias motive. An act is considered as homophobic or transphobic if the motive of the perpetrator was to attack the victim’s real of perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. This means that an act against someone who doesn’t belong to the hated group, could still be qualified as a hate crime in case the perpetrator believed that the victim belonged to this group. In that case the perpetrator still spreads a message to the whole community, that they are not welcome and cannot feel safe.

In this information sheet you have read about the definition of hate crimes. However, anti-LGBT hate crimes are not in the entire European Union (explicitly) criminalized in legislation. In the following submodule you’ll learn more about the legislation regarding anti-LGBT hate crime in your country.

Before starting the training you were asked to qualify the following situations as hate crimes or not.
Did your answers change after reading more information about hate crime?

In order to help people assess crimes as hate crimes, the project group Come Forward has set up a list of strong indicators of hate crime. Please take a look at the list and use it while reading the following case.

Which indications of the list can you find in the case?

“Anne and Sarah went to a LGBT festivity in town. When they were walking back home, holding hands, a group of men sped past in a car and threw some garbage out the window at them. Anne called out to challenge them, the car stopped, and the men shouted ‘dykes’ at them repeatedly. They drove towards them in a threatening way, before driving off. This happened near their home and they recognised one of the men as the son of a neighbour. Anne is angry about what happened and generally suspicious of authorities. She is worried about Sarah as she has a history of anxiety issues and won’t talk about what happened. They feel anxious when walking around in their neighbourhood and are worried there is more to come.”