You are here

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 publishes data on hate crimes and hate incidents from participating States, civil society organizations and international organizations. These data are 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.


2017 Hate Crime Data

Thirty-nine participating States have submitted some hate crime information to ODIHR for 2017. Of these, 34 provided statistics, while 23 provided statistics that are disaggregated by bias motivation.

The official figures are complemented by reports on hate incidents from 124 civil society groups, covering 47 participating States. These contributions amount to 5,843 hate incidents, including 3,265 disaggregated statistical incidents and 2,572 descriptive incidents. This information includes incidents provided by the Holy See, the UNHCR, the IOM and OSCE missions.

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.

Secondly, our data indicate that not all incidents reported to the authorities are recognized as potential hate crimes, or registered and processed as such. 

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

To help states understand these challenges better, ODIHR has published a methodology on how to conduct victimization surveys, which can help map the level of unreported hate crime and the experiences victims had with criminal justice bodies when they did report hate crimes. This complements the recently launched Information Against Hate Crimes Toolkit (INFAHCT) programme, which helps states diagnose and correct issues in their hate crime data-collection mechanisms.

Learn more about ODIHR’s capacity-building programmes here.