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Race-related hate crimes down, up for sexual orientation

Two gay men holding their hands painted with the colors of the LGBT movement, photographed at Montreal on May 24, 2012.
Two gay men holding their hands painted with the colors of the LGBT movement, photographed at Montreal on May 24, 2012. Denis Beaumont / The Canadian Press Images

HALIFAX – A new study released by Statistics Canada shows a decrease in police-reported hate crimes for the second year in a row.

From 2010 to 2011, overall reported hate crimes decreased by five per cent.

Although hate crimes motivated by race, religion or ethnicity all fell, according to the statistics, the number of hate crimes associated with sexual orientation went up by approximately 10 per cent.

The change in numbers has raised some concern for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

But, there is also some uncertainty as to why these numbers are going up and it may not be for all the wrong reasons.

“The numbers clearly are concerning to us, to see any upward trend is certainly something we want to pay attention to” said Kevin Kindred of the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP).

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“But, there are elements of that that could be for good reasons — either that more people are willing to report crimes to the police or that the police are more willing and more able to see crimes as being motivated by hatred, whereas maybe before they would have been ignoring that factor,” Kindred explained.

According to the report, hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation had the highest proportion of accused under the age of 25.

Young adults were the most likely to be either the victim or the accused and offenders were predominately male by an overwhelming 92 per cent.