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What do we know

Participating States have committed themselves to pass legislation that provides for penalties that take into account the gravity of hate crime, to take action to address under-reporting, and to introduce or further develop capacity-building activities for law enforcement, prosecution and judicial officials to prevent, investigate and prosecute hate crimes. Specifically, states have repeatedly committed themselves to collect, maintain and make public reliable data on hate crimes, across the criminal justice system from the police to the courts. In recent years, participating States have consolidated their commitments on hate crime in recognition of the importance of a comprehensive approach in addressing the many facets of the problem.

As the OSCE institution focusing on the human dimension of security, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has been tasked with supporting states in their efforts to meet this range of commitments, and to support the efforts of civil society actors working to prevent and respond to hate crimes.

Every year, ODIHR presents consistent and reliable information from participating States, civil society organizations and inter-governmental organizations on hate crimes, notable incidents and policy responses. This data is released on International Tolerance Day, which falls on 16 November.

Much of the information and data presented on this website has been provided by National Points of Contact on Combating Hate Crimes (NPCs), appointed by the governments of participating States. Particular attention is devoted to gathering data relating to the specific bias motivations on which ODIHR has been asked to focus.


2015 Hate Crime Reporting

Forty-one participating States have submitted hate crime information to ODIHR, 17 of which provided detailed statistics in accordance with the bias motivations on which ODIHR reports.

One hundred eleven civil society groups have submitted information on 5,357 incidents, covering 41 participating States, which includes 4,197 incidents that were disaggregated by type of incident and bias motivation. This information is supplemented by data provided by IOM, UNHCR and OSCE missions covering 35 countries.

While the general level of reporting to ODIHR remains comparable to previous years, limited data on some bias motives continue to indicate under-reporting and gaps in recording. 

Learn more about our annual hate crime reporting efforts here.

General challenges to reporting hate crimes

Under-reporting remains a key challenge. Many victims do not come forward to report hate crimes. This happens for a number of reasons, ranging from language barriers to mistrust in the authorities or fear of reprisals. ODIHR works closely with civil society to overcome this challenge and promote and assist in strengthening co-operation between civil society and governments.

Finally, it is also difficult to track cases of hate crimes at all stages, from investigation through sentencing, due to different recording procedures across criminal justice systems. For instance, police forces may use different definitions than prosecutors.

Learn more about ODIHR’s programmes here.

Specific challenges

ODIHR observes that some participating States rely on their legally protected characteristics to collect data on hate crimes without being able to report on specific targeted groups. For example, 48 participating States have religion as a protected characteristic, but only eight are able to report on hate crimes motivated by bias against Muslims.

ODIHR observes that, alongside hate crimes against people with disabilities, which are a phenomenon only recently acknowledged in a very limited number of participating States, data on hate crimes against Roma and Sinti are by far the least reported, with only nine participating States covered.