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Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2006 Jul;27(6):597-604.

The legal definition of hate crime and the hate offender's distorted cognitions.

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Law and Justice Department, Central Washington University, Lakewood, WA 98498-1999, USA.


The legal definition of hate crime (i.e., the offender attacks the victim because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin) tends to be viewed as a causality description for the offense. This paper maintains that the "because" statement in the legal definition refers to the offender's criminal intent and distorted cognitions (e.g., blaming the victim and using different group memberships to justify and rationalize their hate crimes), rather than suggests that the different group memberships for the offender and the victim cause hate crime. Clarifying the distinction between the offender's mental state and reality has implications for understanding and conducting research on hate crime and clinical interventions with the victims.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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