Excerpts from "Hate Crime in Canada" that illustrate a significant difference between victimization surveys and police defined hate crimes based on sex (gender)

Source: Hate Crime in Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics Profile Series, 2006

This 2006 report notes a "substantial difference between the results of" the victim-reported hate crimes survey and police-reported hate crimes, as illustrated in the above chart.  "While gender-based victimizations accounted for less than 1% of police-reported hate crimes, gender was cited as the motivation behind 27% of [General Social Survey] hate crime incidents.

"Part of the disparity in the volume of gender-motivated hate crimes reported by victims in the GSS and police may be due to different interpretations of the definition of hate crime.  Research in the United States found that prosecutors tended to under-count hate crimes motivated by gender by attributing certain incidents (e.g., violence directed at women) to motivations of power and control rather than hate (McPhail and DiNitto, 2005).  It is possible that similar interpretations exist for police."

Source: Hate Crime in Canada, Juristat, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Vol. 24. no. 4 (2004)

Victimization survey reports of hate crime (at page 4)

General Social Survey on Victimization

In 1999, the General Social Survey (GSS) interviewed approximately 26,000 people 15 years of age and older, living in the 10 provinces, about their experiences of victimization and their perceptions of crime.  For the first time, the GSS asked questions related to hate crime, including whether respondents believe the crime committed against them could be considered a hate crime and what they believed to be the motivation (see Text Box 4 below).

Text Box 4 - Measuring hate crime in the GSS

The 1999 GSS asked respondents whether they felt they had been a victim of any of the following crimes: sexual assault, assault, break and enter, theft of personal property, theft of household property, motor vehicle/parts theft, and vandalism.  Respondents who indicated that they had been a victim where then asked whether they believed the crime committed against them could be considered a hate crime.

There is a growing concern in Canada about hate crimes.  By this I mean crimes motivated by the offender's hatred of a person's sex, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, culture or language.

The question then followed:

Do you believe that this incident committed against you could be considered a hate crime?

If the person answered yes, a subsequent question was asked:

Was this because of the person's hatred of your... Sex, Race,/Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Age, Disability, Culture, Language, Other (specify).

Consistent with other studies, results of the GSS showed that during the 12 months preceding the survey, about 4% of criminal incidents (273,000 incidents) were considered by victims to be motivated by hate.  When asked to specify the basis for the hate crime, race/ethnicity was reported in 43% of the incidents.  Due to small numbers, many of the hate crime categories such as age, sexual orientation, and religion were collapsed into the "other" category.  In this study, "other" made up 37%, followed by culture and sex at 18% each. (emphasis added)

About three-quarters (77%) of hate crimes recorded in the GSS were personal offences compared to 58% of non-hate related incidents.  Moreover, almost half of all hate crime incidents were assaults (49%), compared to 18% of all victimization incidents reported in the GSS.  This research supports the findings of other studies that hate crimes more often involve offences against the person than other offences.  Other research has also shown that hate crimes compared to non-hate related crimes are more likely to involve excessive violence and greater psychological trauma to the victim.

Police-reported data (page 8)

In response to the need to collect police reported statistics in a systematic way, the CCJS in collaboration with 12 major police forces across the country conducted a pilot study on hate crime in Canada.  The objectives of this study were to enhance the understanding of hate crime, and to assess the feasibility of standardizing data collection of police-reported crime.

Defining the Study

The pilot survey collected data on hate crimes that have been reported to the police and subsequently recorded as hate crimes.  Twelve major police forces participated in the study, including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Halton Regional, Montreal, Regina, Windsor, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Ottawa, Waterloo, and the RCMP.  Combined, these police services represent approximately 43% of the national volume of crime in Canada.  Although each of these police forces was collecting information on hate crimes, information was not gathered in any uniform or standardized format.

The survey collected information on criminal and non-criminal events, the characteristics of the incident, the victim and the accused, as well as the motivation for the hate crime, including race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, sex, age, or other.

Incident Characteristics

The majority of the 928 hate crime incidents recorded by the 12 participating police forces were offences against the person (52%), followed by property offences (31%).  The remaining hate crimes were coded as "other" violations (17%) such as hate propaganda.  The most common types of hate crime violations involved mischief (29%), assault (25%), uttering threats (20%), and hate propaganda (13%).

Results indicate that incidents motivated by race/ethnicity accounted for more than half (57%) of all hate crimes, followed by those targeting religion (43%) and sexual orientation (10%).  A further 3% were motivated by language, sex, age or disability.  (emphasis added)

Source: Hate Crime in Canada, Juristat, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Vol. 24. no. 4 (2004)