Hate Crime Victims in Canada

Deirdre Sommerlad, Bowling Green State University
Catherine Kaukinen, The Bowling Green State University

Hate crimes have become a global concern over the past decade, yet the majority of research has focused on the U.S. or Europe. In addition, much of the research has focused on offenders. While this has lead to official action towards offending, such as the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, our understanding of victims is still limited. What we know about the hate crime victims comes from official data. Official data is limited as it relies on reported crimes, which victimization research has shown is only a fraction of all criminal offenses. Hate crimes victims may be even more reluctant to report victimization for fear of repercussions, particularly those who are victimized based on sexual orientation. The 1999 Canadian General Social Survey (Cycle 13 - Victimization, n = 25,876) offers a unique opportunity to learn about hate crime victims. Other than the particular category for which they were victimized, little has been done to understand the characteristics of hate crimes and their victims. The Canadian GSS has 10,087 victimization incidents with 328 respondents reporting their incident was due to a hatred of some aspect of their life. In addition to learning more about victims of hate crimes, we are able to compare them to other crime victims to see if there are lifestyle differences.

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Updated 05/20/2006