Thinking outside the box: intersectionality as a hate crime research framework

Authors: Healy, J.

Start date: 3 July 2019

Journal: Yes

Publisher: Papers from the British Society of Criminology Conference

There is little sustained exploration of intersectionality in disability studies. A unified approach to disability through the social model paradigm may have distracted from the diversity of disabilities. Additionally, intersectionality is at odds with the silo-framework of hate crime policy and legislation. Both concepts fail to fully acknowledge the multiple, over-lapping and complicated experiences of risk and victimisation. This presentation draws upon findings from my PhD research into disabled people’s experiences of hate crime. Intersectional analysis identified the difficulty in categorising individual experiences through one strand of hate crime. Participants recognised that they were targeted for multiple reasons, such as their sexual orientation, gender and disability. Disabled women were particularly at risk, reporting sexual violence, abuse and targeting by ‘groups’ of young men, more than disabled men. The current strand-based approach to hate crime therefore disguises the variety of intersecting elements of identity that, combined, can increase risk of victimisation whilst at the same time reduce a victims’ likelihood of reporting their experiences. Here I explore the challenges of applying intersectionality to disability hate crimes and demonstrate how individuals interpret their experiences when they are targeted for multiple reasons.

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