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Abuse around difference: a sociological exploration of gay men’s experiences of 'hate crime' and policy responses to it

Dunn, Peter (2010) Abuse around difference: a sociological exploration of gay men’s experiences of 'hate crime' and policy responses to it. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis explores gay men's experiences of 'hate crime' and its aftermath. The consequences of their victimisation and the meanings that participants in this research attached to the processes involved are described. Criminal justice policy concerning hate crime is based on the premise that it is more harmful to victims and communities than crime motivated by other factors. That, it has been argued elsewhere, is an assumption. Harmful consequences that participants associated with homophobic victimisation and the interaction of racism and homophobia in particular, are suggested by the accounts of victimisation and its consequences. While the immediate impact of hate-motivated victimisation and other offending were similar, many participants described a series of damaging consequences that flowed from their victimisation. These seemed contingent upon masculine norms that they had challenged, and the pervasive nature of homophobia that, it is argued, hampered effective responses to homophobic victimisation. Participants' experiences are considered alongside developments in criminal justice policy and practice about 'hate crime'. These are often presented as evidence that victims are now ‘at the heart of the criminal justice system’ in the UK. Yet many of the participants felt marginalised by their contact with state authorities, identifying few valued outcomes from having sought help and protection. Official accounts of improvements in police responses to 'hate crime' in London and police engagement with minority communities are compared with participants’ experiences. In parallel to criminal justice developments, support organisations have sought to improve their services to victims of hate crime. Their effectiveness is considered: the data suggests that aspects of their work that participants found unhelpful were similar to those of state authorities that were experienced as ineffective. A minority of participants valued the help they received, and implications of the study's findings for policing and support services are suggested.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Peter Dunn
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Rock, Paul and Alexander, Claire

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