Hate Crimes and Disability in America


A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's prejudice. Hate crimes are sometimes termed "bias-motivated crimes." The theoretical bases for bias motivation and their implications for hate crimes against Americans with disabilities are outlined. The history of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (1990) and its eventual extension to Americans with disabilities are also reviewed. Five years of aggregate data from FBI Hate Crimes Statistics reports are analyzed to compare and contrast the hate crimes experience of Americans with disabilities with that of other targeted groups based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. Reports of hate crimes from persons with disabilities are minute as compared to those of any other group. The nature and location of hate crimes are also analyzed. Finally, the findings and their implications for such issues as alternative manifestations of prejudice, underreporting of violent crimes, cross-disability support for hate crime prevention, rehabilitation counseling practice, and future research directions are discussed.

Publication Title

Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin