According to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), hate-motivated crimes exhibit two components: they are criminal offences, which are motivated by prejudice. The first element of a hate-motivated crime is the perpetration of an act classified by statute as a criminal offence. The second element is the specific motive for which the crime is committed, i.e. the perpetrator chooses the target of the crime deliberately on the basis of a characteristic exhibited by the victim(s).
These crimes range from property damage and assault, to murder.
Identifying characteristics recognised in connection with hate-motivated crimes include language, religion, ethnicity, nationality and other factors. Depending on the national legislation in question, sexual orientation, transsexuality, disability, political views, homelessness and social status may also be protected by law.