Hate crime

crime, motivated by prejudice and usually violent

A hate crime is when someone breaks a law by hurting another person because of prejudice against a group the victim belongs to.[1] Normally, a hate crime is not caused in any way by something the victim did or said, but just because of who they are. Hate crime is often in the form of physical violence, but can also be vandalism and damage to property, insults or other hurtful words, or other violations of human rights.[1] People often commit hate crime because of prejudice about the victim's sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender identity, class, sexual orientation, age, or other things about them.[2]

Postcard of the Duluth lynchings of black men on June 15, 1920

The term "hate crime" was first used in the 1980s in the United States, when crimes caused by bias against certain types of people were being talked about in the media.[1] Hate crime is sometimes a way to frighten other people who belong to the same group. This intimidation can be seen as terrorism when it is carried out on a large scale.[3]

In 2009, the Matthew Shepard Act has changed the definition of a hate crime in the law of the United States. It says that crimes which were committed because of the victim's sexual orientation, gender identity or disability are hate crimes. It is the first law that protects transgender people.

Effects of Hate Crimes


People victimized by violent hate crimes are more likely to experience more psychological distress than victims of other violent crimes. Specifically, victims of crimes that are bias-motivated are more likely to experience post-traumatic stress, safety concerns, depression, anxiety and anger than victims of crimes that are not motivated by bias. Hate crimes send messages to members of the victim’s group that they are unwelcome and unsafe in the community, victimizing the entire group and decreasing feelings of safety and security. Furthermore, witnessing discrimination against one’s own group can lead to psychological distress and lower self-esteem.[4]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Donald P. Green, Laurence H. McFalls and Jennifer K. Smith (2001). "Hate Crime: An Emergent Research Agenda". Annual Review of Sociology. 27. Annual Reviews: 480. JSTOR 2678630.
  2. "Hate Crime Statistics - a modern crime problem". VPNCompass.com. 2021-04-06. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
  3. Ryken Grattet (February 2009). "The Urban Ecology of Bias Crime: A Study of Disorganized and Defended Neighborhoods". Social Problems. 56 (1). University of California Press on behalf of the Society for the Study of Social Problems: 132–135. doi:10.1525/sp.2009.56.1.132. JSTOR 10.1525/sp.2009.56.1.132.
  4. "What Are the Effects of Hate Crimes?". www.apa.org. Retrieved 2021-08-28.