Belgium

Belgium regularly reports hate crime data to ODIHR. Belgium's Criminal Code includes several penalty-enhancement provisions for specific offences. The data reported to ODIHR do not present cases of hate crime, incitement to hatred and discrimination separately. Hate crime data are collected by law enforcement agencies and the Prosecutor's Office. The Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities and against Racism (Unia) and the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men also monitor hate crimes.

SELECT YEAR

Official Data

Year Hate crimes recorded by police Prosecuted Sentenced About these data
2019 1568 1371 -
2018 1446 1006 -
2017 875 60 56
2016 845 70 59
2015 881 69 56

Hate crimes recorded by police

The numbers below represent all incidents recorded by the police and sent to the criminal prosecutor's office.

National developments

In 2019, the Police of Antwerp provided specialized support and reception of victims of hate crime. The Police of Charleroi drafted an information leaflet for victims of hate crime, with information on obtaining support from Belgium's equality bodies (Unia and the Institute of equality between women and men). This initiative has been followed by other local police units. Furthermore, the Police of La Louvière developed a brochure for local police officers explaining how to handle hate crime cases. In 2018 and 2019, several local police unites developed a model "procès verbal" (a written record of an official proceeding), in order to register hate incidents in the correct manner. A group was also set up via Yammer (a corporate social network) where contact police officers listed in the Circular on the investigation and prosecution policy on discrimination and hate crimes (COL13/2013) can network and share information online. The Federal Police created a SharePoint page where relevant knowledge and information about COL13/2013 will be made available for police officers.

Following recommendations made by the EU FRA and ODIHR at a January 2020 workshop on registering hate crimes and offences, a working group composed of representatives of the Equal Opportunities Team (SPF Justice), the police, the judiciary and Unia was set up to optimize the registration of hate crimes. The aim of this working group is to provide solutions to the various problems regarding hate crime registration in Belgium, including: the absence of an obligation to systematically register all hate crimes at the police level; the technical impossibility of registering cases of multiple discrimination (hate crimes on the basis of several protected criteria); and the lack of a system to automatically transmit information about hate crimes registered by police to the IT systems of the judiciary and the Central Criminal Records Office.

Key observation

ODIHR observes that Belgium has not reported on cases of hate crimes separately from cases of hate speech or discrimination.