Forty-three participating States submitted hate crime information for 2014, 17 of which provided detailed statistics in accordance with the bias motivations on which ODIHR reports. In addition, 122 civil society groups have submitted information on incidents in 46 countries. This information is supplemented by data submitted by seven OSCE field operations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
While the general level of reporting to ODIHR remains comparable to previous years, limited data on some bias motivations continue to indicate under-reporting and gaps in recording.
Changes in data from year to year say more about recording methodologies than the actual prevalence and impact of hate crimes. For example, higher figures might simply mean that countries are recording hate crimes more diligently or that victims are reporting these crimes to the authorities more often. Simultaneously, lower figures do not necessarily mean that fewer hate crimes are being committed; they may be an indication of under-reporting by victims or inability to record reported hate crimes by the authorities.
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 co-operation between civil society and governments.
It is also difficult to track cases with bias motivations at all stages, from investigation through to sentencing, due to different recording procedures across the criminal justice system. For instance, police forces may use different definitions than prosecutors.
Learn more about ODIHR’s programmes here.