Hate Crime affects whole communities, major study finds

26th Jan 2018
Hate Crime affects whole communities, major study finds

Hamed Chapman

Hate Crimes not only threaten the personal safety and security for those directly victimised but have serious consequences for communities as a whole, according to a new major report.

The impact of such crimes, whether experienced directly, indirectly, through the media, in person or online, affected other individuals in the victim’s identity group by increasing feelings of fear, anger, and isolation, a five-year study by the University of Sussex found.

“Hate crimes spread fear and anger throughout communities. Individuals do not have to be targeted themselves to be affected. Simply knowing someone who has been victimised is sufficient to cause harm,” said Professor Rupert Brown from the Sussex Hate Crime Project.

“Such reactions are also likely to cause them to change their behaviour – for example, to avoid certain situations or places where they may be more at risk of abuse,” the Professor of Social Psychology warned.

“That is important because some public commentators dismiss hate crime as having no greater impact on communities than other types of crime. We’ve now shown that is not the case.”

The major study was into hate incidents against Muslims as well as members of the LGBT people, commonly seen as the two most targeted groups. Altogether over 3,000 were questioned.

Their report found that over 70 percent of both categories of respondents had been victims of hate crimes in the past three years and more than 80 percent knew someone who had been also.

Experiences of hate crime via the media and online were also extremely common with 86% of Muslim respondents and 83% of LGBT respondents who had been directly targeted online.

Hate crimes, whether experienced directly, indirectly, through the media, in person or online, were consistently linked to increased feelings of vulnerability, anxiety, anger, and sometimes shame and being more security conscious, avoidant, and more active within the community.

The research is the first of its kind to show that hate crimes and hate incidents do not just affect the immediate victims but have serious consequences for their communities as a whole.  Hate crime victims were found to receive more empathy than non-hate crime victims and sometimes were blamed more than non-hate crime victims

Also shown was that both Muslims and LGBT people are unlikely to report hate crimes to the police. Even worse was that when Muslims do report offences to the police, they are more likely to perceive that the police are “ineffective at dealing with these crimes than if they did not report them at all.”

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