Record jump in LGBTQ, religious hate crimes cases reported to police, with men and boys main targets

Previously reported but richer data:

A new report shows a record jump in hate crimes against the LGBTQ, Muslim and Jewish communities, prompting calls for more support for victims of the abuse.

The analysis based on police reports also showed around half of Canadians committing hate crimes had been accused of other crimes before and after those incidents.

The Statistics Canada hate crimes report notes that in 2021 there was a 64-per-cent rise in crimes against members of the LGBTQ community and a 67-per-cent increase in incidents linked to a person’s religion.

A further analysis of these police cases from 2018 to 2021 showed investigators found that two-thirds of the victims were boys and men, most of whom didn’t know the suspect – unlike victims of other crimes.

Almost half of the hate crimes cases were “violent,” including assault, harassment and uttering threats.

The number of hate crimes reported by the police, including military police, rose by 27 per cent to 3,360 in 2021 from 2,646 incidents in 2020.

Mohammed Hashim, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and chair of the RCMP’s hate crimes task force, said the numbers are “an underrepresentation of the actual problem of hate in Canada.”

“Most people do not report hate crimes to the police mainly because they don’t have faith that anything will come of it,” he said, adding the statistics for 2022 are likely to show an even greater increase.

The Statscan report says: “Police data on hate crimes reflect only the incidents that come to the attention of police, and are classified as hate crimes.”

Just over one in five of the incidents resulted in “the laying or recommendation of charges,” the Police-Reported Hate Crime report said.

The analysis delved into who was committing the crimes and found that a cohort of almost 3,000 people are committing repeated offences. Between 2012 and 2018, 2,872 people were accused of at least one hate crime.

Just under half of them had been accused of an incident reported to the police – which may not relate to hate crimes. Fifty-four per cent came into contact with police again within three years after their “initial hate crime violation.”

The Statscan findings, published Wednesday, said after three consecutive years of decline, there was a 67-per-cent increase in reports of hate crimes based on religion.

That included a 71-per-cent jump from 2020 of hate crimes targeting Muslims, a 47-per-cent increase in hate crimes targeting Jews and a 260-per-cent surge in attacks on Catholics.

There were 423 hate crimes reported because of sexual orientation, up from the previous peak in 2019 of 265.

Tyler Boyce, executive director of the Enchante network, which includes over more than LGBTQ organizations, said the statistics were an understatement of the amount of abuse gay and lesbian people experience, and more support was needed. He expressed concern that Statscan does not track abuse directed at transgender people.

Mr. Boyce blamed the far right for fuelling a record number of attacks on members of the LGBTQ community. 

“We are seeing a rise in online hate and people are feeling emboldened to take this from an online space to in-person,” Mr. Boyce said.

Ontario had just over half of all hate crimes directed at people on the basis of sexual orientation.

Unlike other crimes, a large proportion of violent hate attacks were committed by strangers. In 3 per cent of cases, victims were killed or very badly injured. 

Based on population, members of the Jewish community were the most targeted religious group with 145 incidents per 100,000 people, followed by Muslims who experienced eight hate crime incidents per 100,000. Catholics experienced one incident per 100,000 people in 2021.

Nicole Amiel, of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said Canadian Jews were more than 10 times more likely than other religious minorities to report being the target of a hate crime.

Fatema Abdalla, of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said many hate crimes directed at Muslims were not reported to the police, but the council has seen a rise in people calling them for support after being attacked or abused in public.

Source: Record jump in LGBTQ, religious hate crimes cases reported to police, with men and boys main targets

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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