Hate Crimes

A crime that involves the use of force or threat of force may become a civil rights violation if the perpetrator was motivated by intolerance and hate (for instance, hatred of a particular ethnic group). Hate crimes are violent actions intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. Usually someone who is convicted of a hate crime faces a steeper penalty than someone who performed the same actions without discriminatory animosity, but this legal distinction also helps prosecutors establish motive in certain crimes. This section includes information about hate crimes and the prosecution of civil rights violations; the history of these crimes; and links to resources from the federal government.

Learn About Hate Crimes