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Working Title of PhD: How and why hate crime occurs: exploring the accounts of people convicted of hate crime in Scotland’

Year commenced PhD study: 2017

Institution/Organisation: University of Edinburgh

Funding Source (if any): Economic and Social Research Council      

Full or part-time: Part-time

PhD Supervisors: Dr Steve Kirkwood and Dr Michael Rosie

Synopsis of PhD: Hate crime can have a devastating impact upon individuals, families, communities, and the very fabric of society.  ‘Trigger’ events (such as the EU Referendum vote in 2016) and the fostering of certain political climates and media rhetoric can influence public consciousness and increase expressions of prejudice and hostility.  As such, there has been an increased focus on hate crime amongst academics, policy-makers, and criminal justice agencies across the UK and internationally.  Significantly, Scottish hate crime legislation is currently undergoing a comprehensive review. Remarkably, there is little research on the motivations of those who commit hate crime, despite such accounts being central to our understanding of how and why hate crime occurs.  Further, there appear to be no interrogations of the seminal ‘typology’ of hate crime offenders first proposed in 1993 by McDevitt and Levin.  No primary Scottish research into those responsible for hate crime yet exists, nor an in-depth examination of the role of Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW) in working with those convicted of hate offences.  Utilising a qualitative research strategy of biographical-narrative interviews, my research will thus explore how and why hate crime occurs through the accounts of people convicted of hate crime (exploring micro, meso, and macro-level causal factors), how hate crime is conceptualised by CJSW practitioners, and the implications for CJSW policy, practice, and other key stakeholders in the justice field and beyond


Recent publications

Hamad, R & Cochrane, G (2020) Restorative justice for hate crime in Scotland: the story so far. The International Journal  of Restorative Justice. https://www.elevenjournals.com/tijdschrift/TIJRJ/2020/3/TIJRJ-D-20-00050

Hamad, R (2019) Working with people who commit hate crime.  IRISS Insight: Insight 50.  https://www.iriss.org.uk/resources/insights/working-people-who-commit-hate-crime

Kirkwood, S & Hamad, R (2019) Restorative justice informed criminal justice social work. Probation Journal. [OnlineFirst] https://doi.org/10.1177/0264550519880595




University of Edinburgh


University of Edinburgh,
School of Social and Political Sciences,
Chrystal Macmillan Building,
15A George Square,
EH8 9LD.

Research Themes

Courts and Sentencing

Criminal Justice Process and Institutions

No Publications Available

No Projects Available


25th September 2019

Hate Crime in Scotland