ESR Name: Omar Saal

Institution: University of Limerick

Supervisor(s)Dr J. Schweppe, Prof. A. Haynes

Project Title: Intersectionality in victims' experiences with hate incidents

Project Synopsis: It has been acknowledged by scholars that the intersectionality of identity characteristics tends to fall outside the boundaries of hate crime research (Chakraborti 2014, Garland 2011, and Masson-Bish 2014). Hence, this investigation aims to gain empirical evidence of the distinct harms and risks that hate crime victims may face when they are pursued on multiple grounds of identity. The point being, to evaluate whether available legislative and support mechanisms in Europe sufficiently address those who possess “complex identities” (Mason-Bish 2014).

Existing hate crime policy has been developed using what Crenshaw dubs as “single-axis analysis” because it categorises people into groups based on one strand of their identity (Crenshaw 1989). While different identity groups have been added as hate crime policy has evolved, this single-axis approach has been criticized for oversimplifying the variety of identities and how those impact protected characteristics of hate crime (Fredman 2016). 

As such, if the aim of hate crime policy is to send a positive message to marginal communities, the diluted understanding of identity on which it is based may ultimately obscure victim needs and overlook chances to prevent harm to those who are not immediately compatible with existing European hate crime frameworks.

ESR Biography: Omar Saal is a PhD candidate under the School of Law and Department of Sociology at the University of Limerick. He received his Bachelor's degree and Master in Law (LL.M) from Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he studied Public International Law. During his education, Omar's fascination with the stars was kindled. This interest prompted him to work in the space sector, where he gained legal experience at Airbus Defence and Space, and later the European Space Agency. 

Although space may be the final frontier, as a black, openly queer man with Afro-European heritage, Omar had unexplored territory here on Earth. Now, as an early-stage researcher, he is focused on the impact of ‘Intersectionality’ on the lived experiences of hate incident victims in Europe. Particularly regarding the complexity of identity and its reflection in legislation and victim support. All things aside, Omar is a cat person.