Sexual Orientation and Gender Bias Motivated Violent Crime
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Bias-motivated crimes, also known as hate crimes, are defined by the U.S. Department of Justice (Hate Crime Statistics, 2016) as “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” Hate crimes differ from other types of crime in that they typically involve excessive violence; are more likely to be committed against strangers; are often not planned; are typically committed by young, white males; and often involve more than one offender. The Hate Crime Sentencing Enhancement Act (1993) was created, in part, to account for the specific ways in which hate crimes are directed not only toward the person against whom the crime was committed but toward the group to which that person belongs. Hate crimes committed against members of the LGBTQ community have been explored in various ways over the decades. Perceptions of the crimes themselves and judgments made in cases related to sexual orientation bias have been investigated by psychological, political, and legal scholars, as have the utility and impact of hate crime statutes. Effects of these types of crime on both the victim and the community have also been explored by researchers. Arguments opposing the policing of and challenging the deterrent effects of hate crime legislation aside, hate crime statutes continue to expand, with the most recent federal statute, Public Law No. 111-84 (AKA the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act), enacted in 2009. The purpose of the present chapter is to identify the current state of the literature on sexual orientation and gender bias motivated violent crimes. Knowing the current state of research in this area helps to identify where future research and policy considerations should focus.
KeywordsHate crime Sexual orientation Gender identity Bias motivated Violence
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