Differentiating Between Direct and Indirect Hate Crime: Results From Poland


  • Anna Stefaniak
  • Mikołaj Winiewski


Inspired by individual-level research on direct and indirect as well as reactive and proactive aggression, this article proposes to differentiate direct and indirect types of hate crime. We use the largest hate crime database in Poland (N = 3,153 incidents) to analyze: (1) temporal trends in the relative prevalence of two types of hate crime; (2) the involvement of hate group-affiliated and non-hate group-affiliated perpetrators; and (3) the targeting of victims that are perceived to pose more of a symbolic (vs. more of a realistic threat) to the majority group. Results indicate that direct hate crime was more likely than indirect hate crime to be perpetrated by members and affiliates of hate groups, was more likely to target outgroups seen as posing symbolic rather than realistic threat to the majority group, and was also positively related to societal levels of negative intergroup attitudes and negatively related to unemployment. The findings also show that the two types of hate crime are differently predicted by factors indicative of the social and political climate of the country (e.g., unemployment, political preferences, xenophobia). Although the results were only obtained in one cultural context and will benefit from further validation, they provide very promising initial evidence for the predictive utility of distinguishing direct and indirect hate-crime.