Bias-Based Cyberbullying: The Next Hate Crime Frontier?
Henry, Jessica S. (2013). Bias-Based Cyberbullying: The Next Hate Crime Frontier. Criminal Law Bulletin, 49:3, p. 481.
25 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 26, 2013
In response to growing concerns about cyberbullying, states and the federal government have begun new legislative initiatives to address cyberbullying. Several of these initiatives specifically encompass bias-based cyberbullying, while in other states, bias-based cyberbullying falls within the parameters of hate crime laws. This article broadly considers the subject of bias-based cyberbullying, which is defined as cyberbullying based on a victim’s actual or perceived characteristics such as race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and nation origin. This article begins with a case study of the suicide of Rutger’s student, Tyler Clementi, and the decision by the State of New Jersey to pursue criminal charges under its hate crime statute against Dharun Ravi. This article next provides an overview of hate crime laws, and specifically examines the rationale for the passage of hate crime statutes, the characteristics included within those statutes, and the types of federal and state hate crime laws, including penalty enhancement and substantive bias statutes. Finally, this Article explores existing research on bias-based cyberbullying, examines legislative initiatives to address bias-based bullying, discusses the absence of empirical data about bias-based cyberbullying, and provides suggestions for future research.
Keywords: cyberbullying, bullying, hate crime, bias
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