Identity-based violence is any act of violence motivated by the perpetrator's conceptualisation of their victim's identity, for example their race, gender, sexuality, religion or political affiliation. It encompasses hate crime, violent extremism, and genocide and affects individuals as well as entire groups or communities all around the world. While its victims and the ways in which it manifests often look different the causes of identity-based violence are usually the same. By understanding the common causes of these seemingly disconnected forms of violence, we can develop and promote effective, evidenced strategies of prediction, prevention, and protection.
No matter where it takes place and no matter whom it targets, every act of identity-based violence is a manifestation of the deadly idea that some lives are more valuable than others. For that reason, Protection Approaches believes that a spectrum of harms – including hate crime, violent extremism, and mass atrocities – should be seen as a shared global crisis: the targeting of individuals or groups solely because of who they are, what they believe, or who they love.
By emphasising the common attributes of different forms of identity-based violence, Protection Approaches has helped change the conversation on how to challenge, respond to, and prevent it. In the process, we have helped encourage a better appreciation of the shared responsibility to prevent all forms of identity-based attacks, whether by States, militia groups, terrorist organisations, racist gangs, or prejudiced individuals.