Working with victims of crime: A manual applying research to clinical practice (Second Edition)
9.0 Victims of Hate and Hate Crimes (continued)
There is much on the Internet that you can access to learn more about working with victims of hate crimes, those who are coping with prejudice or even simply to understand different groups within our society. Using any search engine will take you to useful resources. The following sites are mentioned as means of quickly getting useful information. You are encouraged to do your own search, focusing on issues specific to your client.
The Anti-Defamation League is an organization whose goal is to stop anti-Semitism and other forms of social injustice and discrimination.
B'nai Brith Canada describes itself as
“the independent voice of the Jewish community, representing its interests nationwide to government, NGO's and the wider Canadian public.”
The Canadian Human Rights Commission investigates and addresses complaints of discrimination in employment. The Commission also develops information and conducts discrimination-prevention programs.
Canadian Race Relations Foundation is a Crown corporation that has a mandate to fight against racism in Canada.
Canadian Jewish Congress is a Jewish organization focused on fighting anti-Semitism.
Council of Agencies Serving South Asians is a coalition of agencies, groups, and individuals that provide services to the South Asian Community.
Cross Point Anti-Racism is an international organization that fights racism.
GayCanada.com is an online gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people’s virtual community that includes links to resources subdivided by province.
PFLAG Canada provides support, education and resources on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, their families and friends. You may be able to find a local chapter through an Internet search.
Religious Tolerance.org is a multi-faith group focused on religious and social tolerance.
Safe Canada contains hate crimes links and may be a good place to start an Internet search on hate crimes.
- A hate crime is
“a criminal violation motivated by hate, based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor”(Uniform Crime Reporting Survey 2.2 Definition).
- Workers helping victims should focus on how the victim defines the crime, not just on legal definitions.
- Hate crimes create “waves of victims,” harming the victim, his or her family, identity group and society at large.
- Workers should be aware of the importance of how the victim views his or her community and personal and cultural identity, and how they have faced and coped with prejudice in society.
- It would be helpful if workers could assess what supports the victim has in the community and whether he or she has good coping models.
- Many victims of hate crimes do not report the crime to authorities. Workers may face this reluctance to report in working with hate crime victims.
- Victims of hate crimes often:
- feel less secure (Boeckmann and Turpin-Petrosino 2002; Garnetts et al. 1990; Janoff 2005; Staub 1996);
- see the world as less orderly and meaningful (Garnetts et al. 1990);
- have lower self-worth (Dunbar 2006; Garnetts et al. 1990; Mock 1995; Janoff 2005);
- feel less effective (Staub 1996);
- have problems in personal relationships (Janoff 2005; Staub 1996);
- feel guilty and blame themselves (Dunbar 2006; Wertheimer 1990);
- question their ability to protect themselves (Staub 1996);
- feel they cannot meet goals in life (Staub 1996);
- have anger at the dominant community (Herek et al. 1997; Janoff 2005; Staub 1996);
- have depression (Herek et al. 1997; Janoff 2005);
- have anxiety or post-traumatic stress (Garnetts et al. 1990; Herek et al. 1997; Janoff 2005);
- experience headaches, nightmares, crying, agitation, restlessness, weight loss (Garnetts et al. 1990; Janoff 2005); and
- make increased use of drugs and alcohol (Janoff 2005).
- In comparison to non-hate crime victims, hate crime victims are more likely to:
- suffer more brutal attacks (Janoff 2005; Willis 2004), and are almost three times more likely to experience severe injury (Messner et al. 2004);
- report more distress (Herek et al. 1997; Herek et al. 1999; McDevitt et al. 2001; Mjoseth 1998);
- report higher levels of fear (Craig-Henderson and Sloan 2003; Herek et al. 2002; McDevitt et al. 2001);
- report higher levels of depression, anxiety, anger and PTSD symptoms (Herek et al. 1997; McDevitt et al. 2001). However, other researchers found that there were no differences between the two groups with respect to depression (Rose and Mechanic 2002);
- see others as dangerous (Herek et al. 1997; Herek et al. 1999);
- see the world as unsafe (Herek et al. 1999; McDevitt et al. 2001);
- rate their risk of future victimization as higher (Herek et al. 1997);
- show a relatively low sense of personal mastery (Herek et al. 1999);
- see personal setbacks as related to prejudice (Herek et al. 1999);
- report overcoming the incident as “very difficult” (McDevitt et al. 2001);
- report the incident as having a big impact on their lives (Craig-Henderson and Sloan 2003);
- report more intrusive thoughts of the incident and feeling like they do not want to live any longer (McDevitt et al. 2001);
- report having lost a job (McDevitt et al. 2001);
- report significant health problems (McDevitt et al. 2001).
Workers should examine their personal biases and boundaries in working with hate crime victims. Are they able to provide an open environment to help the victim move forward?
Workers are encouraged to use the Internet to find resources specific to their client’s identity group and issues.
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Herek, G. M., J. R. Gillis and J. C. Cogan. 1999. Psychological sequelae of hate-crime victimization among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 67(6): 945-951.
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