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Constructions of Homophobic Hate Crimes: Definitions, Decisions, Data

NCJ Number
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: 2007 Pages: 114-137
Eva Tiby
Date Published
24 pages
Based on police-recorded offenses, this study examined the issue of homophobic hate crimes in Sweden, specifically on what constitutes a hate crime, and on the actors who construct hate crimes.
Study findings indicate that the police apply a more inclusive definition of hate crime compared to prosecutors and courts. While the former (police) register ‘homophobic hate crimes,’ where anyone can be a victim, the latter (prosecutors and courts) use the more narrow concept of ‘hate crimes against homosexuals.’ The result is treating a negligible number of the reports as hate crimes. On those who construct hate crimes; findings indicate that suspects of hate crimes are quite young with approximately 25 percent not having reached the age of criminal responsibility. The arenas where these crimes occur are public places, the home, schools, places of amusement, as well as the Internet, cell phones, and similar media. In addition, less than 10 percent of the reported offenses end up as verdicts. It is evident that there is a great deal of variation in the way the courts deal with possible hate crimes. On the basis of the security police’s coded offense reports relating to homophobic hate crimes in Sweden from 2004, this study examined what happened between whom, where, and when, and what did the reports result in. Tables, references


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