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Is bullying a hate crime?

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default Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Adrian on 29th September 2011, 12:48 pm

Following the recent wave of suicides of children who have been bullied, Lady Gaga (among others) has called for bullying to be defined as a hate crime and treated as such.

What do you think, is bullying a hate crime and what can we do about it?


Last edited by Badger on 29th September 2011, 1:48 pm; edited 1 time in total

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 29th September 2011, 1:38 pm

Err, depends on the motivation, surely? If you are bullying someone because you are prejudiced against whatever social group they belong to that you dislike, be it black, gay, Man City fan, Welsh, ginger-haired or whatever, and you commit a criminal offence, then it is a hate crime. If you are bullying someone because you are simply higher in the pecking order than they are, then no it is not. It may still be a crime.

TBH I have never really understood the concept of hate crime and why it is considered worse than non hate crime. If I go out and get drunk and punch you in the face because you are gay, is that worse than if I punch you in the face simply because I fancy punching someone in the face and you happen to be the first person who gets in my way? That nutcase who set off the bomb in the gay pub in old Compton Street - would that have been any less terrible if he had set it off in a regular pub around the corner just because he indiscriminately wanted to kill lots of people?




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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by CraftyBirdUK on 29th September 2011, 2:03 pm

Personally, yes I agree with Lady Gaga and others.

Bullying affects everything once you've been put in that position. Being bullied is not necessary and I believe it stems from the way children's parents treat them...it causes a ripple effect that can't be stopped easily once the pattern is set. Maybe that's harsh, but I've seen my kids go through being bullied, and I've been there myself, both at school and in the workplace....bullying is unnecessary and causes a lot of scars...some which last a lifetime even if they aren't physical ones. It should be classed as a hate crime but a lower level depending on severity. Everyone has the right to live & work/be educated in a safe and welcome environment.
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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by polgara on 29th September 2011, 2:53 pm

Adult bullying, I think is a crime. The stuff that goes on on FB & Twitter etc, I think is a crime, & this includes some of the things that are on TV & in the papers. The stupid reporters who ask "how do you feel" after some tradegy are to my mind bullies of the worst kind.

However, chidhood bullying, as long as it does NOT include violence, I think is to a certain extent, part of growing up. I was unlucky enough to wear glasses, have stickout teeth & be extremely thin & I grew up with a lot of verbal s. However it did teach me to ignore such things & do well in other areas with people who were much more worthwhile. I also learnt to look at the bullies & work out why they were doing it, often it was homelife or some other personal problems.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Jaded Green on 29th September 2011, 5:46 pm

We had to move LMJ to a new primary school because of what was basically bullying (turning every child in the class against her) It was not something we could ride out. It affected the whole family. We are not the sort of people who move schools at the drop of a hat.

I do know (now) that the child responsible for it all did actually have problems at home which were extremely well hidden, but that was no excuse for letting my family suffer.
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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by polgara on 29th September 2011, 6:07 pm

Agree JG, but bullying seems to take on a differant aspect these days to what it used to be.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Dandelion on 29th September 2011, 7:58 pm

Our youngest was ostracised by her year group when she was in the sixth form because of some gossip. She lost a lot of weight and was very unhappy for about a term. We were very worried - fortunately we had her year head's email address and were able to ask the lady to keep an eye on DD2 and what was going on. Eventually it seemed to fade away, with some people who had been under the control of the chief protagonist deciding to speak to DD2 again. If we hadn't had direct experience of bullying I would probably be saying that it seems to exist everywhere and almost seems sadly to be a normal part of life. Being involved and seeing what it can do to someone makes me more militant. As far as I'm concerned it's not just 'being unpleasant' - it's a systematic series of actions designed to undermine and bring someone down.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 29th September 2011, 8:30 pm

But that does not make it a 'hate crime' unless the motivation behind it is based on the victim belonging to some minority group.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by polgara on 29th September 2011, 9:38 pm

Who is going to define Hate? What will be the paramiters?

I hate lots of things, but I suspect that other people hate different things.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Dandelion on 29th September 2011, 9:57 pm

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:But that does not make it a 'hate crime' unless the motivation behind it is based on the victim belonging to some minority group.
True - in a legal sense. But surely to use any sort of tactic to cause someone to commit suicide as mentioned in the OP involves hatred and a desire to wield power. Maybe the problem would be in proving what someone's motives for bullying were.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by RuthG on 29th September 2011, 10:49 pm

ALL bullying is illegal. It comes in the Offence against the Person Act (1974) (Might not have the date excatly right; it might be 1976). My daughter was bullied at a swimming club she attended. The club leaders did nothign about it. The girl in question threatened to 'put (you) in the hospital'. That was the last straw for me and I was sick of people telling me it was 'part of growing up' and she should learn to live with it! I went to the police and they paid the girl a visit. Created a furure at the swimming club but kicked them into touch and they developed a robust anti-bullying policy after that.

NO-ONE should have to put up with being mistreated just because they dont conform, whther because of the race, sexual orientation, religion, colour, or just because someone decides to take a dislike to them!
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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Hairyloon on 30th September 2011, 12:25 am

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:That nutcase who set off the bomb in the gay pub in old Compton Street - would that have been any less terrible if he had set it off in a regular pub around the corner just because he indiscriminately wanted to kill lots of people?
Would Hitler have been less terrible if he'd sent folk to the death camps at random instead of the Jews?
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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 30th September 2011, 8:27 am

Dandelion wrote:
Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:But that does not make it a 'hate crime' unless the motivation behind it is based on the victim belonging to some minority group.
True - in a legal sense. B

But we are talking about a legal sense here. Hate crimes are treated differently by the law and attract different sentencing. Of course all bullying is wrong but the question was about Lady Gaga seeking to have bullying reclassified as a hate crime.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by RuthG on 30th September 2011, 10:09 am

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote: Hate crimes are treated differently by the law and attract different sentencing. Of course all bullying is wrong but the question was about Lady Gaga seeking to have bullying reclassified as a hate crime.

The point is, it shouldnt be treated differently. If thumping someone in the street is wrong, it isnt any more wrong just because you happen to thump someone who is of a different racial origin from you. And the sentence should be the same.

This 'hate crime' nonsense is actually more insidious than that of course; the law is beginning to try to control thoughts as well as actions - and that is the essential difference between thumping someone and thumping someone who is 'different'.

It starts in primary school - a child is singled out as 'different', so the class gangs up on them to make them 'the same'. It's all to do with fear of anything that doesnt fit our own preconceived ideas of 'normal'.
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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 30th September 2011, 1:11 pm

RuthG wrote:
Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote: Hate crimes are treated differently by the law and attract different sentencing. Of course all bullying is wrong but the question was about Lady Gaga seeking to have bullying reclassified as a hate crime.

The point is, it shouldnt be treated differently. If thumping someone in the street is wrong, it isnt any more wrong just because you happen to thump someone who is of a different racial origin from you. And the sentence should be the same.

This 'hate crime' nonsense is actually more insidious than that of course; the law is beginning to try to control thoughts as well as actions - and that is the essential difference between thumping someone and thumping someone who is 'different'.

It starts in primary school - a child is singled out as 'different', so the class gangs up on them to make them 'the same'. It's all to do with fear of anything that doesnt fit our own preconceived ideas of 'normal'.

I quite agree, Ruth.

Moreover, most schoolyard bullying chooses the victim first and the 'difference' second. The bullied child may be picked on for being fat or wearing glasses, whereas another child with glasses might be popular and indeed one of the bullies.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Dandelion on 30th September 2011, 6:24 pm

Sorry - am a bit incoherent at the moment as I've been ill for a few days and don't really understand what I'm saying myself!
It's a topic I get quite worked up about - we get kids at school who get picked on and you begin to see the systematic way in which a crowd can go to work, and how people who are afraid of being bullied themselves will join the bullying to keep themselves 'safe'. Very Darwinian. We do what we can as adults in loco parentis in school - sometimes it's not enough.
What I've been trying to say is that it obviously needs to be dealt with properly but I'm not sure that re-branding as a hate crime will help - it could possibly be easier for a perpetrator to escape sanctions.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 30th September 2011, 6:57 pm

Yes, absolutely. Because otherwise it becomes about social minority issues. If you are fat, ginger haired and have a lisp, that gives you carte blanche to bully other fat ginger haired kids with lisps.
It is the individual who gets bullied, not the supposed 'difference'. Some kids just get bullied. Full stop. That is the thing that is wrong and needs stopping.

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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Kristy lee on 30th September 2011, 10:41 pm

polgara wrote:The stupid reporters who ask "how do you feel" after some tradegy are to my mind bullies of the worst kind.

I totally agree with this it gets me so worked up

I think it doesn't matter if someone is of a different race or culture that bullying is bullying.
I can't stand however that if i were to call a person a name and they were black that i would most likely be charged or sued. Though it is fine for say an indigenous person that lives down the street to call me anything they want to and nothing will ever be done about it.

Some bullying is part of growing up at school and can be constructive, for instance when my son was in his first year at school and wanted to ride his bike (with training wheels) to school. I knew this was a bad idea but let him anyway. In the afternoon some grade 7 boys were picking on him and calling him names for having the training wheels on. He came home from school, requested the trainers be taken off, learned to ride it within 1hr and then proudly rode to school the next day.
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default Re: Is bullying a hate crime?

Post by Mike on 1st October 2011, 3:16 pm

Difficult to decide.

"Hate crime" is a term normally used to mean more than just hate was involved. Used for specific sorts of hate.

But notice we see people describing situations ".....and the adults around saw and knew and did nothing about it....". Which implies a level of social complicity, implies there is some sort of "group" involved even is not one of those officially designated.


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