A Picture of Bias Crime in New South Wales

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Gail Mason


Bias Crime is crime where the victim is targeted because of an aspect of their identity, including race, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. It is an extreme manifestation of cultural tension and conflict. Bias crime remains under-researched in Australia. While there has been some investigation into different types of bias crime, such as racist and homophobic offences, there is little analysis of the nature and extent of bias crime across these categories. For the first time, this article presents the results of a study into official records of bias crime held by the New South Wales Police Force. The study shows that crimes motivated by bias based on the victim’s race/ethnicity and religion are by far the most common types of bias crime reported in NSW. People from Asian, Indian/Pakistani and Muslim backgrounds are the most likely victims to report bias crime. The study also shows that there is much work to be done to encourage bias crime reporting amongst marginalised communities and improve the capacity of police to identify and accurately record bias crime. We argue that civil society has an important role to play in building partnerships with police to achieve positive change in the policing of bias crime.

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