Hate Crimes in Canada Essay

Hate Crimes in Canada Essay

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According to Petrosino (2003: 10) hate crimes can be defined as "..the victimisation of minorities due to their racial or ethnic identity by members of the majority. " (p. 4) Hate crimes are also known as bias-motivated crimes because the crimes are motivated by a bias towards a person or persons including but not limited to those of a different gender, ethnic background, religion, or sexual orientation. Hate crimes are quite serious and have severe and long lasting-effects for the targeted victims. Due to the severe nature of the crimes many countries have strict laws in place to punish offenders. Hate crime is not widely discussed in Canadian society because it has not been a prominent issue until now. “..The extent of the problem in Canada was limited to a small number of persons, such activity could create a climate of malice and destructiveness to the values of our society (Cohen Report, 1966:24). As a result of the committee’s efforts, Parliament amended the Criminal Code in 1970, thus rendering hate propaganda as a punishable offence (Law Reform Commission of Canada, 1986:7)

There are several reasons why offenders commit hate crimes, they vary from case to case, however, one key element is fear which is caused by ignorance. The offenders fear the unknown and the competition they feel that exists, them vs. the ‘others’. When fear is accompanied by other factors it could potentially lead to a violent crime. “The
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economic or social success some minorities have attained may result in increased feelings of resentment by members of the larger population. As Levin & McDevitt (1993:48) argue, resentment can be found to some extent in the personality of most hate crime offenders. It may be directed toward a part...


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..., or might serve as an entire defence.” and aggravating circumstance is defined as “Circumstances that make a crime more serious in the eyes if others; in hate crime, for example, racism makes an assault more serious, resulting in a harsher sentence.” (McCormick. Siegel, 2007, p.114) Involvement of organized hate groups or their members, absence of motive and existing patterns of similar incidents in a particular area are signs that a bias-motivated crime may have occurred, this warrants further investigation. Often times the individuals are unaware that they are victims of a hate crime. It is not uncommon to have victims and offenders be a part of the same gender, race, sexuality or religion, it is not always about the common differences but the perpetrator's perception of ‘difference’.




































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