‘I may be left with no choice but to end my torment’: disability and intersectionalities of hate crime

Stephen Macdonald*, Catherine Donovan, John Clayton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


This article contributes to the growing literature concerning Disability Hate Studies. The study employs the concept of intersectionality and examines experiences of hate crimes recorded as racist or homophobic but where the victims/survivors also have a disability or mental health condition. The data was derived from 33 case-studies. Although very few hate incidents/crimes were conceptualised as disablist, disability played a significant role in the experiences of victims/survivors. The article proposes that criminal justice agencies should move away from understanding hate crime as a singular interaction to conceptualising the possibility that this can become a harmful hate relationship that progresses overtime. Points of interest The study examines cases of hate incidents/crimes that affect disabled people within the North-East of England. The research suggests that hate incidents/crimes are not always motivated by prejudices towards disability, but are often due to racist or homophobic bigotries. The findings demonstrate that the process of defining a particular type of hate as either racist-, homophobic- or transphobic-motivated crime often masks the fact that many of these victims are also disabled people. The study indicates that hate crimes are often not a one-off event, but can be the accumulation of many hate incidents that result in cumulative negative impacts and can escalate into more severe offences over a prolonged period. The article concludes by suggesting that to develop an effective hate crime intervention, social services and criminal justice agencies must consider the possibility of a power relationship, i.e. a hate relationship, between the perpetrator(s) and the victim(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-147
Number of pages21
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number1
Early online date26 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2023


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