National frameworks to address hate crime in Bulgaria

This page provides information on the national frameworks to address hate crime in Bulgaria. The information provided here should be viewed alongside data presented on Bulgaria's hate crime report page.

Hate crime recording and data collection

There is no system in place for recording hate crimes, which are registered as any other criminal offence. Methodological guidelines issued by the Ministry of Interior govern the process of crime registration, data collection and the compilation of police statistics.

The recording officer can describe any motive for the crime in a specific field of the crime report. The same field is also used to provide preliminary legal qualification by referring to the relevant provisions of the criminal code, including subsections. This is relevant because some offences in the criminal code include aggravation by bias in the subsections of the main provision. If, in the course of pre-trial proceedings, it is revealed that a crime involves a discriminatory motive, the responsible investigating police officer in the Ministry of Interior reports such findings to the supervising prosecutor, who may re-assess the legal qualification, on the basis of which new statistical data are filled in.

Entered data are stored in a set of electronic registries: the Integrated Regional Police System (IRS); the Automated Information System (AIS) Central Police Register; the AIS Central Police Statistics and the automated systems for filing activities. These systems are organized according to the relevant articles of the criminal code.

The official website of the Ministry of Interior publishes statistical information about registered crimes.

The Prosecutor's Office does not collect statistical information on the motives of hate crimes. Multiple bias motivations cannot be recorded for a single crime. 

Hate crime victim support

There is no specialized support system for hate crime victims in Bulgaria. Hate crime victims are entitled to the support provided as part of the general victim support scheme. According to the Bulgarian criminal legislation, victims of hate crimes have the same status in terms of their procedural rights as victims of other crimes.

Support for crime victims is provided by both state and private actors, including civil society organizations (CSOs). However, information about victim support providers is not made publicly available. State actors provide medical care, while CSOs offer psychological consultations, free legal aid and practical assistance.

The State co-operates with CSOs on providing support to crime victims. The National Council for Aiding and Compensating Victims of Crime operates under the Ministry of Justice; a CSO – the Bulgarian Association of the Organizations for Support of the Victims of Crimes – is a member of the Council.

There is no procedure for conducting individual needs assessments for hate crime victims. All crime victims receive printed information about the existence of the Aiding and Financial Compensation to Victims of Crimes Act and the possibility to receive compensation.

All victims of crime have a right to the following: to be informed of their rights in criminal proceedings; to receive protection for their safety and that of their relatives; to be informed of the progress of criminal proceedings; to participate in proceedings; to make requests, notes and objections during proceedings; to appeal against acts that lead to the termination or suspension of criminal proceedings; to be represented by a lawyer; and to receive a written translation of the act to terminate or suspend criminal proceedings.

Victims who suffer property or non-pecuniary damage from a crime prosecuted ex officio are entitled to participate in court proceedings as a private prosecutor. The victim of a crime prosecuted by the victim's plea may file and prosecute as a private complainant.

Hate crime capacity building

Bulgaria implemented ODIHR's Training Against Hate Crime for Law Enforcement (TAHCLE) programme from 2012 until 2017.