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Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Hate Crimes and Youth

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2022
28 pages

This report presents the findings and methodology of a literature review of research on the involvement of youth in hate crimes as either perpetrators or victims.


The literature reviewed addresses the definitions of hate crimes and related terms, an overview of the history of hate-crime legislation in the United States, hate crime rates and trends, the recruitment of youth into hate groups, interventions to prevent or reduce the occurrence of youth hate crimes, the consequences of hate crime and bias-based harassment of youth, and gaps in the literature on youth and hate crimes. Based on the literature review, “hate crimes” are defined as “traditional crimes (assault, vandalism, etc.) motivated by bias against others because of their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, or disability.” Compared with traditional crimes, the impact of hate crimes may be experienced not only by the victim but also other members of the community to which the victim belongs (Frelich and Chernak, 2013). Research has examined the methods hate groups use to recruit youth to their causes. Recent research suggests that hate groups use online methods, such as creating webpages targeted at youths, hosting “white power” music on websites, and developing video games to appeal to youth. Several studies have concluded that between 40 percent and 60 percent of youths may be exposed to hate speech and other hate materials online. Several studies have examined the adverse impact on youth of hate crime and bias-based victimization, such as increased symptoms of trauma, higher risk for substance use, and higher rates of mental health issues; however, there has been less research that has focused on how to help youths cope with these issues. 121 references