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ISTSS, the leading global organization promoting the advancement and exchange of knowledge about severe stress and trauma, today released a briefing paper on the trauma of hate-based violence. A group of experts on the mental health of diverse populations that have experienced potential traumas associated with hate-based violence summarize the research that has been conducted in this area and provide recommendations for research, clinical practice and policy.

Manifestations of prejudice and hate occur all over the world. Hate-based violence is a type of potentially traumatic stressor intended to instill fear and anxiety, inflict psychological damage, diminish a sense of belonging, exclude a group identified as “other,” and/or expunge a group from a community. Hate-based violence may include a continuum of behaviors that may have a pervasive negative impact on the health and mental health of victims.

“This briefing paper was commissioned to inform ISTSS members, partners, policymakers and global stakeholders about the existing research evidence regarding the potential traumatic impact of hate-based violence,” said Bita Ghafoori, PhD.

ISTSS recommends a number of actions to improve knowledge regarding the potential trauma(s) associated with hate-based violence and to better address the mental health needs of those affected by hate-based violence including:

  • Important stakeholders such as law enforcements, first responders, legal and justice system professionals, and health personnel should be trained in culturally responsive, trauma-informed methods of responding to hate-based victimization;
  • Community-based educational and awareness-raising programs outlining the traumatic impact of experiencing hate-based violence should be developed and implemented in order to increase awareness and to support survivors in accessing recovery services, including programming highlighting the importance of diversity, tolerance and the prevention of the precursors of violence (e.g. prejudice-based stereotypes, discrimination and hate-speech);
  • Evidence-based psychological therapies adapted to engage and effectively assist survivors of hate-based violence should be made widely available and accessible to affected persons and groups;
  • Trauma-informed mental health training, programs and resources should be made available to professionals to aid in identifying, evaluating and effectively treating those impacted by hate-based violence.