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Institutional Settings of Abuse and Hate Crimes

Kathryn Patricelli, MA

Institutional Settings

In addition to abuse that occurs in the home, there are many institutional settings where abuse may take place. Sexual harassment and bullying may occur in the workplace. Peer bullying may occur in schools. Date rape and other forms of sexual assault may occur on college campuses and other settings in which dating and flirtatious behavior occur. All manner of people under institutional care, including mental patients, people with intellectual disabilities, nursing home patients, board and care residents, prisoners, and children in daycare may be abused. Abuse also occurs in religious settings, as is evidenced by the numerous sexual molestation abuse scandals within the Catholic church.

Hate Crimes

Hate crimes are another type of abuse, and one which can occur anywhere and any time. The most commonly publicized hate crimes are those perpetrated on particular ethnic groups (such as persons of Middle Eastern descent, or African-Americans), those based on sexual orientation (e.g., "gay-bashing"), and those due to religion (often aimed at Jewish and Islamic groups). Religious buildings, including churches, synagogues and mosques, are commonly targeted and vandalized. When targeted religious buildings serve particular ethnic or sexual-orientation groups, it is difficult to know if the target was the religious group itself, or their membership, or both. Hate crimes also regularly occur due to gender and disability status. Hate crimes may include verbal, physical or sexual abuse perpetrated on people or property destruction, including graffiti, cross-burning, and arson.