Perceptions of Police Legitimacy and Citizen Decisions to Report Hate Crime Incidents in Australia


This article examines the importance of perceptions of police legitimacy in the decision to report hate crime incidents in Australia. It addresses an identified gap in the literature by analysing the 2011-2012 National Security and Preparedness Survey (NSPS) results to not only explore differences between hate crime and non-hate crime reporting but also how individual characteristics and perceptions of legitimacy influence decisions about reporting crime to police. Using the NSPS survey data, we created three Generalised Linear Latent and Mixed Models (Gllamm), which explore the influence of individual characteristics and potential barriers on the decision to report crime/hate crime incidents to police. Our results suggest that hate crimes are less likely to be reported to police in comparison to non-hate crime incidents, and that more positive perceptions of police legitimacy and police cooperation are associated with the victim’s decision to report hate crime victimisation. 

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2018-06-01
Pages:91 to 106
Fetching Scopus statistics
Fetching Web of Science statistics
How to Cite
Wiedlitzka, S., Mazerolle, L., Fay-Ramirez, S. and Miles-Johnson, T. (2018) “Perceptions of Police Legitimacy and Citizen Decisions to Report Hate Crime Incidents in Australia”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 7(2), pp. 91-106. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v7i2.489.

Author Biographies

University of Sussex
 United Kingdom

Susann Wiedlitzka is a Lecturer in Criminology at the School of Law, Politics and Sociology at the University of Sussex. Susann received a PhD in Criminology from The University of Queensland and has worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Sussex on multiple hate crime projects, including an EU DG Justice-funded research study, which examined the application of criminal laws and sentencing provisions for hate crime across five EU Member States, and a ‘Policing Hate Crime’ project, which investigated whether a direct connection between activity on social media platforms and offline hate crime incidents exists.

University of Queensland

Lorraine Mazerolle is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow (2010–2015), a Professor of Criminology in the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland, and a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Experimental Criminology, and a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Experimental Criminology and the Academy of the Social Sciences Australia. Her research interests are in experimental criminology, policing, drug law enforcement, regulatory crime control, and crime prevention.

University of Queensland

Suzanna Fay-Ramirez is a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Queensland, School of Social Science and an affiliate with the UQ Institute for Social Science Research. Her work centers around three themes: 1. the comparative context of crime, 2. how perceptions of gun regulation by police, dealers, and the community influence debate and enforcement of Australia’s gun laws. 3. Perceptions of child maltreatment and abuse and its consequences for reporting, monitoring, and court outcomes for children and families.

Queensland University of Technology

Toby Miles-Johnson is a Lecturer in Criminology within the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Toby received his Doctorate of Philosophy – Criminology from The University of Queensland (2013). Toby’s work and research has contributed to key areas in ‘Police Training’ and ‘Policing Diverse Communities’.