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The victim of 'hate' crime

Paper presented at the 8th Irish North South Criminology conference, June 2012, Dublin.
by

Lucy Stella Michael

on 16 October 2012

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Transcript of The victim of 'hate' crime

Or why the current system of recording 'Hate' crimes may be making the problem worse... Rethinking the Victim of 'Hate' Crime where is the victim? • reliant on identification by victim of hostility or
hatred in or near the incident

• actual or perceived hatred / hostility

• in practice, relies on verbal or written
communications from the offender what is hatred? "Clearly a racial incident is one that is in some sense motivated by racial hatred or antipathy. Motives, however, are not open to direct inspection but have to be inferred from the circumstances of the incident or offence. Inferences of this kind may call for difficult and highly subjective judgments …
Ideally, the only reliable source of information on racial motivation would be from the offender ."
( Home Office 1981, Racist Attacks, p.7 ) Identifying 'hatred' Questions we need to ask: Rethinking the position of the victim emphasis on offender motivations
problem of offender errors in identifying motivations (Gadd, 2009)
rewriting of 'hatred' definitions to include hostility, prejudice or incitement of fear •Emotional responses
sadness, anger, fear


Powerlessness & increased suspicion
Behaviour changes
Avoidance
Decreased social participation Impact on the victim Wide range of
victim types and targets
crime types & varying seriousness
associated non-crime acts
socio-political contexts

Usually identified via association with targeted victim group Barnes & Ephross (1994) noted the immense overlap between the impact of crime generally (and terrorism in particular) on emotional states and social participation, and the impact of hate crime.
Qualitatively then, it seems to have largely similar overlap.

APA (2009) notes that hate crime victims are "similar to other victims of traumatic stress".

Most academic studies in this area highlight the greater impact of hate crime on victims than comparable offences without the identified element of 'hatred' or 'hostility'. Comparable to social terrorism? why do some victims not identify hatred / hostility even where there is clear evidence? (Blee, 2007) capacity to create own narratives of self
failure to read complexity into encounters (intersectionality)
role of resources & status
role of affect in pre-determining emotional responses
choice of emotional responses after the encounter
culturally relative perspective for victims Do victims have to accept & recognise the implication of hierarchy being enforced that is the key to Perry’s (2001) (now authoritative) definition of hate crime ? If not, how do they recognise 'hate'? what consequences are there for victims who identify hostility? reflection by victim on encounter
pre-existing affect for perpetrator group
role of secondary witnesses
reflection throughout formal reporting process what is the role of cognitive appraisal (Craig, 1999) in identifying 'hate' crime, both during and after the offence? Most studies fail to mention that victims differ significantly in their interpretations of hate crimes, or the huge range of difference in impact on the victim. young people are more likely to be at risk, and to identify hostility
(Craig & Waldo, 1996)

people who report hostility/hatred suffer greater impact
(Herek et al, 2002)

people of higher status cannot recognise hatred/hostility
(Craig, 1999) Implications for formal responses is the system of reporting likely to inflict greater trauma through the identification of hostility? can we develop a culturally relative understanding to explain particular patterns of reporting as well as offending? what is the best use for hate crime statistics and how should they be presented? what alternative responses are there to an emphasis on reporting & counting? what do we know? Dr. Lucy Michael, University of Hull
l.michael@hull.ac.uk
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