A set of Companion Bills HB10/SB112 have been filed for the upcoming 2018 Virginia General Assembly session to expand the victims under a Hate Crime to also include disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of victims.
The definition of a Hate Crime: Hate crime (also known as bias-motivated crime) is a usually violent, prejudice motivated crime that occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group. Examples of such groups include but are not limited to: ethnicity, gender identity, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, or sexual orientation.
In Virginia it’s any criminal act committed against a person or his property with the specific intent of instilling fear or intimidation in the individual against whom the act is perpetrated because of race, religion or ethnic origin.
Registered Sex Offenders (RSO), their spouses, their parents, their significant others, their children, their room-mates and their property have become targets of vigilantes across the U.S. because their addresses are public information The property of RSO’s and their loved ones have been robbed, vandalized and set on fire. RSO’s and their loved ones have been harassed, taunted, assaulted and even murdered simply because a stranger found their name and address posted on the public Sex Offender Registry.
Based on the definition of a Hate Crime, Registered Sex Offenders are a “certain social group” and any violence against them should be punished as such.