Source: (2012) International Review of Victimology. 18(1):7-24.

For some time, hate crimes were conceptualized as acts of hatred committed by strangers – typically as violent attacks against people perceived to be different from the attacker. Considering hate as an aggravating feature resulted in increasingly punitive and exclusionary criminal justice and sentencing legislation. Left out of this picture were the messier, sometimes intractable disputes between people known to one another – neighbours, colleagues or other acquaintances – conflicts sometimes only partly motivated by prejudice. This article brings these under-researched conflicts to centre stage. Drawing on a study of community mediation in cases of ‘hate conflicts’, we explore the effects of prolonged processes of hate-motivated abuse on those involved – the main parties and often the wider community. We provide evidence of two distinct ‘types’ of hate crime cases. The first looks at the persistent targeted abuse of vulnerable victims, while the second is characterized by multi-layered conflicts involving numerous disputants. In these latter cases, we argue, it is not always helpful, and sometimes not even possible, to label one party the ‘perpetrator’ and one the ‘victim’. Indeed, we show that at times during long-term disputes, these roles are reversed and at other times they become meaningless. In both ‘types’ of hate conflict we explore the potential of community mediation to repair broken relationships and the harms caused by acts of hatred. (author's abstract)