What are hate crimes?

OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) points up that a hate crimes Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice towards particular groups of people.

To be considered a hate crime, the offence must meet two criteria:

  • The act must constitute an offence under criminal law.
  • The act must have been motivated by bias.

Therefore the victims are chosen on the basis of their identity. According to the OSCE, bias motivations can be broadly defined as preconceived negative opinions, stereotypical assumptions, intolerance or hatred directed to a particular group that shares a common characteristic, such as “race”, ethnicity, language, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, or any other fundamental characteristic. People with disabilities may also be victims of hate crimes.

However, in the field of health, the use has given a particular meaning to the concept of “hate violence” which would now be understood as described by the World Health Organization (WHO): “the deliberate use of physical force or power against a person or group of people, which causes or may cause injury, death, psychological damage, developmental disorders or deprivation, immediately or in the long term, based on the victim connection or belonging, real or alleged, to a group or community”.

This definition is based on the “violence” conceptualization established by the WHO in the World Report on Violence and Health (WRVH). If you are interested in the issues involved in this definition work, we recommend the article of the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine that you can find here