A victim-centred approach to conceptualising ‘hate crime’

Paul Iganski

in 'Hate crime' and the city

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9781861349408
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302476 | DOI:
A victim-centred approach to conceptualising ‘hate crime’

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Even though the term ‘hate crime’ has caught on in some quarters, it is a rather slippery concept. Varying interpretations have been provided in the scholarly and policy literature, but they do have one thing in common: curiously the word ‘hate’ appears infrequently. Instead, terms such as ‘bias’, ‘prejudice’, ‘difference’ and ‘hostility’ feature prominently. This chapter explores the conceptual disarray of the notion of ‘hate crime’ and explains why and how the concept is to be utilised in the book. It makes a case for the victim's experience to be placed at the centre of the conceptualisation of ‘hate crime’. A victim-centred approach recognises the salience of the particular harms inflicted by ‘hate crimes’ compared with parallel crimes. The experiences of victims also show that, contrary to media depictions of the problem, many incidents of ‘hate crime’ are committed by ‘ordinary’ people in the context of their ‘everyday’ lives.

Keywords: hate crime; victims; hate; bias; prejudice; hostility; harms

Chapter.  8505 words. 

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