National frameworks to address hate crime in Denmark

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


Hate crime recording and data collection

The Danish National Police has monitored hate crimes since November 2015. Monitoring activities provide knowledge about the extent of hate crimes and developments in the area, and enables the accurate processing of cases.

The Danish National Police has national hate crime registration guidelines. When recording a crime, a police officer has to register case details, as well as a short description of the case. While bias motivation is not recorded, search keys are used to track hate crimes in the electronic police case management system (POLSAS). Search keys are attached to relevant cases and are used as the foundation for searches and analyses across data.

Police officers identify hate crimes by interviewing the victim and/or witnesses. They also take the crime scene into account. Police officers ask open questions about the victims (and witnesses') perception of the motive. Police officers must also be aware of physical characteristics of the victim and the offender. If the victim suspects they were subjected to a hate crime, police officers must take this into account. If police officers suspect a hate crime, even though the victim has not mentioned it themselves, they must try to get the victim to elaborate. Police officers must be unprejudiced and make the victim feel as comfortable as possible.

All criminal cases are registered in the Danish Police case management system, POLSAS. The Danish National Police includes cases that are:

  1. Motivated by racism, including bias against nationality/ethnicity, "race"/skin colour, and "other".
  2. Motivated by bias against religious beliefs, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religious beliefs and congregations.
  3. Motivated by bias against LGBTI, including sexual orientation, transgender (gender identity, expression or characteristics), and category "LGBTI+ other".
  4. Motivated by bias against disability.

The Danish National Police also monitors "incidents without charges and other investigative measures" with a bias motivation. In addition, the Danish National Police monitors hate speech, which is a criminal offence according to section 266b of the penal code.

The Ministry of Justice conducts an annual victimization survey. In this survey, victims who report being subjected to violence are asked whether they think the violence was motivated by, for example, racism or sexual orientation. A question about a possible hate motive is included in sections on vandalism and crimes committed online, and there are plans to add religion to the list of possible bias motives.


Hate crime victim support

The hate crime victim support system is part of the general victim support system in Denmark. Victims of hate crimes do not have a special status under Danish law.

An independent, state-funded counselling service provider, Victim Support Denmark, operates in all 12 police districts of the country. The support service provider is free of charge and offers information about police and court procedures, compensation and insurance, assistance during the court proceedings and referrals to other service providers. It collaborates with law enforcement, medical service providers and other emergency services.

The police assesses the protection needs of all victims and refers them to Victim Support Denmark. Danish law enforcement are trained on sensitive and respectful treatment of hate crime victims as part of a general obligatory training course on hate crime.

The Danish legal system provides for restorative justice solutions in case both the victim and the offender agree to participate. There are no solutions specific to hate crime cases.

Additionally, in certain circumstances victims may be assigned a legal advocate. The legal advocate is an attorney who helps and advises victims and safeguards their interests throughout the criminal justice process, at no cost to the victim. People who have been victims of serious crimes are usually eligible for a legal advocate, including victims of serious sexual assault, violence or robbery. In other instances where special circumstances justify it, the courts will decide who is eligible for a legal advocate. In criminal cases involving violence, threats and sexual offences, victims will usually be assigned a police contact person when an investigation is initiated. In other cases, victims may be assigned a contact person if it is assessed that the victim is in need of guidance and information. The contact person can provide victims guidance and information about their legal position and the progress of the case in the criminal justice process. In addition, the contact person informs the victim about their role in court.