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Understanding and responding to Hate Crime Presented by: Prof Juan A. Nel (UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology) At HSRC/ ISS Panel Discussion Pretoria.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding and responding to Hate Crime Presented by: Prof Juan A. Nel (UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology) At HSRC/ ISS Panel Discussion Pretoria."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding and responding to Hate Crime Presented by: Prof Juan A. Nel (UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology) At HSRC/ ISS Panel Discussion Pretoria 30 August 2011

2 OVERVIEW What is hate crime? –Why a separate crime category? –Why considered a priority crime? Responding to hate crime –Role of Psychology Current attempts at addressing hate crimes in SA –Integrated Victim Empowerment Policy Guidelines –Hate Crimes Working Group –Proposed Hate Crimes Bill –Interim LGBTI Task Team Recommendations

3 WHAT IS HATE CRIME? HATE CRIME DEFINED –A criminal act committed against people, property, or organisations that is motivated in whole or part by prejudice because of the group to which the victim belongs or identifies with (i.e. LGBTI community, foreign national or Muslims). –Perpetrators seek to demean and dehumanise victims – considered different based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, health status, nationality, social origin, religious convictions, culture, language and/or other characteristic. –Hate crime (‘corrective rape’) v Hate incident (hate speech) –‘Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words…”


5 Relationship between stereotyping, discrimination & victimisation Perception Categorisation Labelling/ Stereotyping Prejudgement Discrimination Victimisation

6 WHAT IS HATE CRIME? While hate-based victimisation may be in the form of an isolated incident, such victimisation most often occurs in contexts of sustained harassment including daily, ongoing acts of taunting, constant bullying or conflicts between people known to each other within specific settings, such as a school or a community → What, then, are the implications ito required interventions??

7 WHY SEPARATE CRIME CATEGORY? –Perpetrator prejudice differentiates hate crime from other crimes (So, what does it suggest ito interventions??) –Identity crime: Directed at the identity of the victim and motivated by hatred or specific targeting not of the individual, but of the group to which they belong (How then do we best intervene??) –Message crime: Message conveyed by perpetrator impacts beyond direct victim/s, to others in targeted group (What then can serve as prevention?)

8 WHY CONSIDERED PRIORITY CRIME? Internationally considered a priority crime: Not on basis of prevalence, but rather severity of emotional & psychological impact beyond individual victim; extending to group to which they belong (i.e. fear; shame; self hatred; delayed help-/ health seeking behaviour) or are perceived to belong, and to the broader community or society at large Hate Crimes Act of New York State: "Hate crimes do more than threaten the safety and welfare of all citizens. They inflict on victims incalculable physical and emotional damage and tear at the very fabric of free society. Crimes motivated by invidious hatred toward particular groups not only harm individual victims but send a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group to which the victim belongs. Hate crimes can and do intimidate and disrupt entire communities and vitiate the civility that is essential to healthy democratic processes.”

9 RESPONDING TO HATE CRIME HAS TO BE MULTI-SECTORAL VISIBLE, AUDIBLE AND ACTIVE –Law and policy (i.e. Constitution and Equality Act and Victim Empowerment policy guidelines) is a beginning, but it is not enough –Actively speak out against prejudice –Mobilise and organise (in our own communities and sectors) to respond to prejudice-motivated acts at the social level –Support civil society’s efforts at ensuring State accountability for appropriate service delivery, access to justice and non-discriminatory practises –Visible and vocal leadership: speaking out against all forms of hate, at all levels –One voice: need to hold our government accountable for ongoing perpetuation of exclusionism (See SA government UN-related votes/ statements…)

10 ADDRESSING HATE CRIME PREVALENCE, NATURE AND IMPACT –Statistics generally lacking Varying definitions, legislative limitations, underreporting CHALLENGES –Paucity of data due to underreporting, no legislation, no systems in place, secondary victimisation etc REQUIREMENTS –Hate crimes are linked to social identities, social power and to social attitudes. A response will therefore require targeted, multidisciplinary and multilevel (macro, meso and micro) interventions and leadership

11 ROLE OF PSYCHOLOGY As Psychologists, both in research and in psychotherapy, we specialise in communication and facilitation of change; we create contexts, in our various fields of expertise, in which our clients and / or research participants can begin to explore optional patterns of interaction, thereby setting the stage for attitudinal and behavioural change. Our response-ability therefore is to: DESCRIBE –What, where, when, how, to whom and by whom PROMOTE UNDERSTANDING THROUGH PROVIDING INSIGHT –Policy (macro) –Awareness creation (micro) PREVENT –Design and implement actionable programmes in communities, collaborating with CBOs, CSOs, NGOs (meso) TREAT –Victims AND perpetrators

12 Psychology Criminal Justice System Hate Crime Hate Crime Prevent React Trauma counselling Psycho- therapy Reactive education ? React Trauma counselling Psycho- therapy Reactive education ? React ContinuumContinuum ContinuumContinuum Perception Categorisation Labelling/ Stereotyping Prejudgement Deprioritisation Marginalisation Exclusion Discrimination Victimisation

13 CURRENT ATTEMPTS AT ADDRESSING HATE CRIME IN SA –Integrated Victim Empowerment Policy Guidelines (2008: includes all hate victims as priority group, in particular LGBT and foreign nationals) Tsholo Moloi ( / Athalia Shabangu ( –Hate Crimes Working Group (2009: multi-sectoral emphasis) Wozani Moyo ( / Roshan Dadoo ( / Juan Nel ( –Proposed Hate Crimes Bill (2010: emphasis on xenophobia????) Advocate Basset ( / Ooshara Sewpaul ( –Interim Task Team on LGBTI Criminal Justice Issues (2011: with obvious emphasis…) Tlali Tlali ( / Siphiwe Ntombela ( / Dipika Nath (


15 Hate Crimes Working Group (HCWG) Current role players Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) Jewish Board of DeputiesThe Scalabrini Centre Amnesty InternationalOUT LGBT Well-being Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)Independent Projects Trust Sonke Gender JusticeTshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC) University of South Africa Centre for Applied Psychology (UCAP) UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Gay & Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) Human Rights Watch and others…

16 News24 20 July 2010 Law to get tough on xenophobia Hlengiwe Mnguni, News24 Cape Town - The department of justice is in the process of preparing a bill that will make South African law tougher on hate crimes - such as those fuelled by xenophobia, it said. According to records on the Parliamentary Monitoring Group website, the bill is expected to be submitted to Parliament this year and it is hoped that it will have a "positive impact on victims of crime, particularly foreigners who have been subject to xenophobic attacks". Department of justice spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the proposed law will bring South Africa in line with its obligations to the United Nation's International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. "This bill will create offences relating to racial discrimination, xenophobia, hate speech and other related acts of intolerance," he told News24. Tlali said the proposed bill would strengthen existing laws and processes in dealing with crimes of discrimination. "Should the need arise, more prosecutors will receive training on how to effectively use this legislation in order to ensure that the most severe of penalties permissible under the law are imposed by our courts when cases of this nature are heard," he said.

17 RECOMMENDATIONS Avoid a ‘hierarchy of hate’ – it’s not about ‘foreign nationals’, nor is it about ‘black lesbians’ only, nor about ‘LGBTIs’, or whomever makes the most noise about their victimisation… Research should incorporate context (the ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘by whom’, if accurate, useful information is to be gained Embrace/ partake in Hate Crime Working Group-initiated intersectoral research - See Hate Crime Monitoring Form (For more info, contact Hanlie van Wyk:

18 RECOMMENDATIONS (Cont…) Let’s not get stuck on the macro interventions, only… Much energy and resources will be required to also develop the meso and micro emphases required for longer-term, sustained transformation of our society…. Intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration is not optional, it is a necessity To enable this, it is necessary to decomplexify our descriptions in order to complexify our responses

19 THE END THANK YOU! (Enquiries: Juan Nel Cell: +27(0)83 282 0791 or Note: The contribution of Hanlie van Wyk to an earlier version of this presentation is acknowledged

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