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Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity: an overview of global trends and prevention modalities

Executive summary by the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime about hate crimes that targets individuals based on their actual or perceived race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, origin, social status and political affiliation

  • 6 April 2021
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Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity: an overview of global trends and prevention modalities

HATE CRIME: an evolving concept

Hate crime is a legally recognized term endorsed by some of regional and national organizations. The concept can take several forms depending on the legal framework in which it is defined. Legislation generally requires two elements to determine that a crime is a hate crime: it must be a criminal act and it must be committed against certain individuals or groups on the basis of discriminatory motives or prejudices (OSCE, 2012). Hate crimes target individuals based on their actual or perceived race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, origin, social status and political affiliation (Koraan & Geduld, 2016). It is up to states to define which grounds will be included in their respective legislations and the criteria that determines whether or not a crime is considered a hate crime (OSCE, 2012). Hate crimes may also include damage to property related to the targeted groups or communities, and encompass several other elements such as vandalism or damage to places of worship, organizational premises and private homes. The most common types of hate acts are bullying, vandalism and assault (Grugan, 2013).

The International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC) has studied hate crimes for many years. In 2002, the organization issued its first publication on the subject: Preventing Hate Crimes: International Strategies and Practice (ICPC, Shaw & Barchechat, 2002). ICPC acknowledges that hate crime is an evolving concept and, with the financial support of Public Safety Canada, has updated its knowledge of hate crime prevention issues and practices. Since 2002, most studies and research on hate crimes have looked at the topic generally and without specific consideration for hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which have been increasing during the same time period.

This report aims to bridge this significant gap in existing research: what is actually known about hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity? Empirical research on this type of crime is limited, mostly due to the lack of statistical data from criminal justice systems, which limits understanding of the phenomenon. The hurdles encountered when reporting hate crimes, such as the lack of community trust in justice systems or the prejudices held by official authorities, represent major obstacles to establishing a comprehensive overview of the violence and discrimination experienced by sexual and gender minority communities. This lack of recognition demonstrates the importance of anchoring the report in the realities experienced by LGBTQ+ people. Initial research revealed that hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people were not sufficiently documented in order to conduct an adequate literature review. As a result, the focus shifted from all forms of hate crimes to two specific types of victimization: those based on gender identity and on sexual orientation The acronym LGBTQ+ is used in order to include the diversity of people who identify as a sexual or gender minority.

The acronym LGBT is used by most international bodies including the United Nations (UN). Q has been added for the term queer because this terminology is widely used in the English-speaking world (Interline, 2016). The + represents all other sexual and gender minorities, as inclusion has been an important concern for us in the realization of this report. Following preliminary readings, acts committed against cisgender or heterosexual women were excluded from the analyses. This choice is explained by the difference in the dynamics of violence. For instance, one of the reasons why violence against individuals from LGBTQ+ communities is not the same as violence against women is that both groups are targeted for different reasons. Hate crimes against LGBTQ+ communities does not represent a balance of power between male and female gender but "a rejection of female attributes amongst men or of male attributes amongst women mainly, in public or semi-public spaces" (Kraus, 2018, p. 7).

This document summarizes our report, which is divided into three chapters: 1) The legislative framework of hate crimes in general and of hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, 2) An overview of the specificities of hate crimes targeting LGBTQ+ people and 3) Prevention modalities, and includes our recommendations and guidelines for more inclusive and safe environments for LGBTQ+ communities and for society as a whole. This report meets three objectives:

 To update the knowledge base on hate crimes and hate crimes against LGBTQ+ communities.

 To put emphasis on the prevention modalities related to hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 To formulate recommendations and guidelines for addressing these issues.

Chapter I looks at conceptual and legislative frameworks. Key concepts related to the topic are contextualized as well as issues surrounding hate crimes and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Also highlighted are scientific and legal definitions linked with hate crimes along with definitions presented by professionals working directly or indirectly with LGBTQ+ communities. Legal definitions are mapped by geographic region and by organizational level (international, regional and national). The first chapter concludes with a discussion on the merits of legal protections specific to LGBTQ+ individuals.

Chapter II provides an international overview of violence experienced by LGBTQ+ communities and proposes a typology of the different types of hate crimes perpetrated. Global trends surrounding hate crimes committed against LGBTQ+ communities are presented, supported by statistical data on violence. The extent of discriminatory practices in employment, education and social services, and the perpetrators of these types of crimes as well as the profiles of the most affected victims are also examined. The conclusion highlights the extent of the consequences of sexual orientation and gender identity-based hate crimes for immediate victims, LGBTQ+ communities and for the wellbeing of society as a whole.

Chapter III examines prevention strategies promoted by international and regional. This chapter also includes a classification of field practices and recommendations from researchers in the prevention of hate crimes, including those based on sexual orientation and gender identity. An overview is offered of current programs that have been implemented and to which ICPC had access. This made it possible to identify which criteria was used in setting up a program for the prevention of hate crimes based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Our research also shows the significant importance of educating, providing training and raising awareness on sexual orientation and gender identity. Also highlighted are the important contributions provided by NGOs regarding the prevention of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals. Lastly, obstacles related to the implementation of the programs are presented, based on the input and expertise of actors in the field.

Source: Internationa Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC)

Category:Publications
Country:- NA
Language:English
Year:2019
Institution:International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC)

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