skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 157550 Find in a Library
Title: Hate Crimes: Violent Intolerance
Journal: Prosecutor  Volume:29  Issue:4  Dated:(July/August 1995)  Pages:20-22,24-25,31
Author(s): L A Spillane
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 6
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Hate crimes are directed against members of a specific group merely because of membership in that group; the basis of hate crimes may be the victim's age, race, gender, sexual preference, religion, or ethnicity.
Abstract: Laws enacted in response to hate crimes predominantly involve bias crimes and penalty enhancements. Bias crime laws include freestanding criminal prohibitions of racially targeted violence, while penalty enhancement laws rely explicitly on another criminal provision such as assault and increase the sentence if the assault is committed with bias motivation. At least 31 States have bias crime laws, and several Federal laws prohibit bias-motivated violence. Many observers believe that fewer hate crimes are being committed by members of organized hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and that more hate crimes are being perpetrated by individuals or small groups of people acting on their own. At least half of people arrested for hate crimes are teenagers and young adults between 16 and 25 years of age. Hate crime victims suffer from devastating injuries due to the randomness of hate crimes and the fact that victims are attacked because of some characteristic over which they have no control. Advocacy groups have emerged to help hate crime victims, provide statistical support and incident reporting to educate others about the prevalence of hate crimes, and train law enforcement officers. Once law enforcement has determined who has committed a hate crime, the prosecution must establish the defendant's motive. Because establishing a motive may be difficult, prosecutors can rely on certain indicators that a hate crime has occurred: common sense, suspect language, attack severity, lack of provocation, contact or prior history between victim and suspect, previous history of similar incidents in the same area, and absence of any other apparent motive. Stiff penalties may discourage potential hate crime perpetrators, and law enforcement officials need to communicate to the community that hate violence will not be tolerated. 29 references and 14 endnotes
Main Term(s): Victims of violent crime
Index Term(s): Bias related violence; Courts; Federal legislation; Federal regulations; Hate Crimes; Race-crime relationships; Racially motivated violence; Religiously motivated violence; State laws; Victim services; Violence prevention
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.