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Victims, Perpetrators and Fatal Scenarios: A Research Note on Anti-Homosexual Male Homicides

NCJ Number
International Review of Victimology Volume: 9 Issue: 3 Dated: 2002 Pages: 253-271
Stephen Tomsen
Date Published
19 pages
This article discusses anti-homosexual harassment and violence.
There is little detailed international research evidence about the victims, perpetrators, and the social aspects of anti-homosexual violence. This study in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, analyzed evidence from 74 homicides with male victims that occurred in NSW between 1980 and 2000. Press records, police interviews with suspects, court files, and documents from the criminal trials of the accused perpetrators were the information sources. Acts of anti-homosexual harassment and violence have been termed “hate crimes” perpetrated by those that have an extreme or irrational contempt for strangers due to their assumed membership of a despised minority. These acts are said to comprise a form of intimidation of the entire group from which an individual victim may be targeted. These hate crime killings have distinct features as a form of crime and some strong similarities to typical patterns of the killing of men by other men. There is a significance of situational factors, such as alcohol, illicit drugs, and anonymous sexual cruising, as well as the hate motive. Some perpetrators had serious drug use or psychological problems, while most killers were young men and boys from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. The results of this research indicate that the hate model should not discount the complexity of the motives, the significance of situational factors, and the links that acts of hatred have to the achievement and protection of masculine status by violent means among young socially marginalized men and boys. 1 table, 12 figures, 4 notes, 43 references