1/3 of Hate Crimes Committed by Friends, Care-givers & Family

Credit: University of Leicester

Grant, pictured above, is a victim of "disablist" hate crime. 
There is racism, sexism and now disablism combined with the attitude by some friends, family and care-givers that those with disabilities are fair game for acts of verbal and physical violence.

As if that's not bad enough, research out of Leicester University in England reveals that one-third of hate crimes against the disabled come from people known to the victim, either friends, care givers or family.

What is it within the human animal that causes hate crimes?  Why do people feel the need to act this way?  Is it organic to us?  Is it something we learn?

I have to admit there are times I have thoughts and feelings that I'm not proud of, and I wouldn't want people to know about.  Do most people have the same?  If so, is it true that some people can't control their urges and act out in ways that hurt others, especially those not in a position to defend themselves?

Here's the report, something to think about in your own life:

Friend or foe: 'Devastating' number 
of hate-fueled crimes are committed 
by friends, colleagues, carers of victims
People in trustworthy positions to victims, such as friends or carers, can be sources of cruelty and hate, a new study has concluded. Hate crime victims have recorded being tipped from wheelchairs, finding feces posted through letterboxes and having their guide dogs attacked, often by those that are closest to them. Many victims suffer in silence due to lack of knowledge of available support, say authors of a new report by researchers at the University of Leicester.

Suggested reading
These findings are the result of the two-year Leicester Hate Crime Project, the widest-ranging study of hate crime ever undertaken, which has highlighted that in over a third of cases offenders are known to the victim, either as acquaintances, neighbors, friends, work colleagues, family members or carers.

Stevie-Jade Hardy, the project's Lead Researcher, explained: "There has been a prevailing assumption that hate crimes are committed by strangers, far-right extremists or hate fueled individuals. However, this study shows that those who commit hate crimes are often ordinary people who are known to the victim and this was found to have a profoundly devastating emotional and physical impact on the victim."

The research, undertaken by a specialist research team based at the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), examined the nature and impact of hate crime and of victims' expectations of service providers.

The research team heard from nearly 1,500 victims targeted on the basis of their identity characteristics or perceived 'difference' and found that many felt vulnerable, depressed or suicidal as a result of hate crime.

Victims also felt neglected by support networks, with less than a quarter reporting their most recent experience of hate crime to the police, and fewer still reporting to other networks, organisations or individuals in a position of authority and trust.

Dr Neil Chakraborti, Reader in Criminology at the University of Leicester and the project's Principal Investigator, said: "Local authorities and police forces have worked hard to raise awareness of hate crime and of support mechanisms in place. However, we found that many of the 4,000 community members we engaged with had never even heard of the term 'hate crime'.

"Service providers must do more to treat victims with empathy, patience and humanity, to make reporting procedures more accessible, and to support victims from all sections of society."

Jon Garland, Co-Investigator on the project while at Leicester who is now a Reader in Criminology at the University of Surrey, added: "We need to make sure that victims of hate crime are treated appropriately and with care by agencies that should be there to help them. To this end, the project team has produced a Victims' Manifesto, based upon the views and wishes of the victims we've spoken to, that sets out ten key steps that can be taken to improve the support that victims receive.

"Our aim is to get as many organisations and individuals to sign up to the Manifesto as possible, so that we can begin to make a real and positive difference to the lives of those that suffer hate crime."
The Leicester Centre for Hate Studies, based at the University of Leicester, offers guidance on how to implement the recommendations from this research, and is encouraging professionals from all sectors to pledge support to the Victims' Manifesto so they can take strides to eliminate hate crime: Victim's Manifesto.

Further information about the study can be found here: Study information.

Watch an informative video by the research team about The Harms of Hate

Related posts:
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Story Source: Materials provided by University of Leicester. "Friend or foe: 'Devastating' number of hate-fuelled crimes are committed by friends, colleagues, carers of victims." ScienceDaily, 21 September 2014.


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