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.
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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.