Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 113–129 | Cite as

„So, what's a hate crime anyway?” young adults' perceptions of hate crimes, victims, and perpetrators

  • Kellina M. Craig
  • Craig R. Waldo


Male and female young adults provided responses to open-ended questions about hate crimes. Results indicated considerable variability in their definitions, with perceptions of hate crimes differing with regard to demographic characteristics of both victims and perceivers. Victims may experience hate crimes differently because of who they are, why they are victimized, and with whom they share their experiences. In a separate study, males and females each evaluated a scenario of a hate crime perpetrated upon a male or female victim. Whether the crime was described as motivated by racial or religious bigotry, heterosexism, or was ambiguous was systematically varied. The demographic status of the participant appeared to determine how disruptive they regarded the crime scenario, and the likelihood that they would report personal knowledge of a victim of a similar type of assault. None of the participants was likely to report knowledge of a victim of a heterosexist assault. Policy implications of results from both studies are discussed.


Young Adult Demographic Characteristic Social Psychology Policy Implication Separate Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kellina M. Craig
    • 1
  • Craig R. Waldo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IllinoisChampaign
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbana-Champaign

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