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Australian Hate Crime Network

Developing priorities and outcomes that address and prevent hate crime

The Australian Hate Crime Network (AHCN) is a partnership composed of three sectors of society: academics, representatives of NGOs from minority communities, and people from relevant government organisations.

The AHCN works to develop priorities and outcomes that address and prevent hate crime and hate incidents in Australia.

The AHCN recognises that hate crime may be committed on the grounds of, but is not limited to, race, religion, ethnic or national origin, sexuality, gender, gender identity, age, disability or homelessness status.

The AHCN aims to:

  • provide leadership, advocacy and support for state and national government responses to hate crime and hate incidents;
  • provide an educative and advisory role to key agencies and services on preventing and responding to hate crime and hate incidents;
  • enhance community awareness of hate crime and hate incidents, and encourage reporting, help seeking and access to available resources;
  • monitor and review patterns in hate crime and hate incidents;
  • advocate for improvement in data collection, law enforcement and criminal justice responses;
  • and, collect and distribute relevant current research and knowledge on hate crime and hate incidents.

Media releases

Victorian government response to recommendations on anti-vilification protections - Thursday 2 September 2021 (pdf, 131KB)

Gay and transgender hate crimes between 1970 and 2010 - Final report - Thursday 6 May 2021 (pdf, 110KB)

Call for investigation into NSW Hate Crime laws - Sunday 17 May 2020 (pdf, 243KB)

COVID-19 and hate crime in Australia - Thursday 23 April 2020 (pdf, 102KB)

Proposed Online Safety Act - Monday 9 March 2020 (pdf, 172KB)

Submissions by the Australian Hate Crime Network

Australian Hate Crime Network submission to Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s Inquiry into Extremist Movements and Radicalism in Australia (pdf, 336KB)

Australian Hate Crime Network Submission to Online Safety Bill 2021 (pdf, 362KB)

Australian Hate Crime Network Submission to the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues: Inquiry into Gay and Transgender Hate Crimes between 1970 and 2010 (pdf, 643KB)

Australian Hate Crime Network Submission to the Australian Government's Consultations on a New Online Safety Act (pdf, 895KB)

5 Point Action Plan 

  1. Conduct state and national advocacy with relevant agencies to support a coordinated policy, project and reform agenda for the government and non-government sectors to address the problem of hate crime and hate incidents.
  2. Establishment of an effective and well-resourced hate crime unit in the relevant government agencies based on international evidence of good practice in policing hate crime and hate incidents.
  3. Provision of resources for data collection capable of advancing current understanding of and responses to hate crime and hate incidents in Australia.
  4. Investigation into the establishment of third-party reporting systems including an online reporting facility for victims to report hate crime and hate incidents, hosted by an independent organisation in partnership with police.
  5. Provision of strategic support to build community capacity to understand and address hate crime and hate incidents in Australia.

Principles and values

  • We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we work and live, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. The experiences of Australians targeted by hate crime are informed by the original violence and dispossession enacted at colonisation and the subsequent prejudice, brutality and injustice against Australia’s First Nations Peoples.
  • Every individual deserves to live free from discrimination, hatred and violence
  • Commitment to equality of representation between member communities
  • Commitment to evidence-based practice
  • Primacy of community voices
  • Respect for diversity and difference
  • Every meeting operates as a safe and supportive space for discussion


Membership the AHCN is comprised of stakeholders with experience, expertise, responsibility or commitment to the problem of hate crime and hate incidents in Australia. This includes (but is not restricted to) non-government organisations, academics and government organisations.

The Network welcomes membership from all over Australia. Please contact the Co-Convenors regarding potential membership.

Office Bearers

  • Convenor: Gail Mason (The University of Sydney)
  • Treasurer: Nicole Asquith (University of Tasmania)
  • Media Officer: Julie Nathan (Executive Council of Australian Jewry)  

What is hate crime?

Hate crime is generally understood as crime and abuse that is motivated or shaped by prejudice or group hatred. This tends to include prejudice on the grounds of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability. Hate crime is also referred to as targeted crime, bias crime and prejudice-related crime.

Some different definitions of hate crime include:

  • ‘A crime committed as an act of prejudice’ (F. Lawrence, Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law, 1999, p.9).
  • 'Crime wholly or partly motivated by, grounded in, or aggravated by bias or prejudice towards particular groups of people’ (G. Mason, ‘Hate Crime Laws in Australia: Are they achieving their goals?’ Criminal Law Journal, 2009, vol. 33, p.327).
  • ‘“Hate” crime is not really about hate, but about bias or prejudice … essentially hate crime refers to criminal conduct motivated by prejudice’ (J Jacobs & K Potter, Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics, 1998, p.11).
  • ‘Any hate incident, which constitutes a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by hate or prejudice’ (UK Home Office Police Standards Unit and Association of Chief Police Officers, Hate Crime: Delivering a Quality Service, March 2005, p.9).
  • ‘Crime that manifests evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity’ (US Hate Crime Statistics Act, 1990).
  • 'Even though the word "hate crime" has caught on in some quarters it is a rather slippery concept. ... [T]he one common characteristic that we can be sure about is that "hate crimes" hurt more than parallel crimes: this is borne out by the experiences of victims...' (P Iganski, 'Hate Crime' and the City, 2008, p.1, 20).
  • 'If there is no one definition, but merely a series of common denominators, how do we identify hate crime? It attempts to re-create simultaneously the threatened (real or imagined) hegemony of the perpetrator’s group and the “appropriate” subordinate identity of the victim’s group. It is a means of marking both the Self and Other in such a way as to re-establish their ‘proper’ relative positions, as given and reproduced by broader ideologies and patterns of social and political inequality’ (B Perry, In the Name of Hate: Understanding Hate Crimes, 2001, p.10).


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Professor Gail Mason, Sydney Law School
Academic profile