Briefing Paper: Global Perspectives on the Trauma of Hate-Based Violence

Ghafoori, B., Caspi, Y., Salgado, C., Allwood, M., Kreither, J., Tejada, J.L., Hunt, T., Waelde, L.C., Slobodin, O., Failey, M., Gilberg, P., Larrondo, P., Ramos, N., von Haumeder, A., & Nadal, K. (2019). Global Perspectives on the Trauma of Hate-Based Violence: An International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Briefing Paper. Retrieved from


There is an urgent need to understand and respond to the health needs of survivors of hate-based violence. Manifestations of prejudice and hate occur all over the world. Hate-based violence is defined as violence against a person that is motivated by bias and prejudice against the person’s perceived group membership (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2013; Green, McFalls, & Smith, 2001; Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, 2010). Group membership might be classified in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or other personal characteristics.

The aim of this briefing paper is to review existing research on the traumatic impact of hate-based violence and the mental health needs of survivors and communities affected by this type of violence. Understanding how hate-based violence can lead to serious and potentially chronic traumatic stress reactions (including but not limited to posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and complex forms of traumatic stress symptoms) can provide a framework for reducing the stigma experienced by survivors and increasing their access to effective treatments. The perspective that traumatic stress reactions and related symptoms may result from experiences of hate-based
violence has been proposed by many scholars (e.g. Bryant-Davis & Ocampo, 2005; Mitchell and Nell, 2017; Scurfield & Mackey, 2001). Hate-based violence may occur in the form of a single potentially traumatic event or multiple traumatic events that are repeated and prolonged. Existing research suggests that hate-based violence is often traumatic for the survivor, the survivor’s community, and society at large. However, direct and systematic research on the traumatic impact of hate-based violence is still very limited and has mostly been carried out in developed countries (Dzelme, 2008).

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