Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

“You’re a victim, don’t become a perpetrator”: A study of the ‘moral career’ of racist hate crime victims

Funnell, Corinne



Nathan Hall

Abbee Corb

Paul Giannasi

John Grieve


Based on ethnographic research methods, the chapter provides important insights into the social worlds of victims of racist hate crimes. This includes the challenges faced by victims and caseworkers in maintaining hate crime victim status, particularly in respect of agencies such as the police who were supposed to be guided by the victim-centred definition of hate crime which operates in the criminal justice system in England and Wales and which was institutionalized in casework practice. The findings show how the rejection by police officers of some victims’ perceptions that they had experienced hate incidents, for example, due to lack of evidence, resulted, in some cases, in retaliatory acts by the victim. Highlighting the ‘processual’ (Bowling 1994, 1999) dynamics of victimization, the analysis captures the failure of the victim’s perception to trump police discretion in the reporting and recording of racist incidents at various stages and the consequences of the loss of victim status, including the risk of criminalization. It is concluded that whilst the victim-orientated definition of hate crime defines who is a victim, it is everyday ‘interactional practice’ (Holstein and Miller 1990) which determines who can be a victim.


Funnell, C. (2014). “You’re a victim, don’t become a perpetrator”: A study of the ‘moral career’ of racist hate crime victims. In N. Hall, A. Corb, P. Giannasi, & J. Grieve (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook on Hate Crime (367-380). Routledge

Publication Date Jul 15, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 6, 2014
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 367-380
Series Title Routledge International Handbooks
Book Title The Routledge International Handbook on Hate Crime
ISBN 9780415818902
Keywords victims, policing, hate, crime, racism, ethnography
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations