National frameworks to address hate crime in Spain
This page provides information on the national frameworks to address hate crime in Spain. The information provided here should be viewed alongside data presented on Spain's hate crime report page.
Hate crime recording and data collection
The Statistical Crime System (SEC) is a unified system for collecting crime statistics. The system describes the rules and procedures on how to record statistical facts. All hate crimes are recorded, regardless of whether they are reported by the police or by the victim. Moreover, in addition to their criminal qualification or alleged violation of administrative rules, members of different law enforcement bodies must describe the criminal context when recording the crime, including "polarization indicators" pointing at a discriminatory motivation behind the criminal conduct. The presence of a discriminatory motivation leads to a distinct classification of the crime in the SEC.
Police must determine and mark one or more of the following bias motivations: racism/xenophobia; ideology; sexual orientation or gender identity; sex/gender discrimination; religious beliefs or practices; anti-Semitism; disability; aporophobia; anti-Roma; illness; and general discrimination. In the event that either a competent police officer, victim, or a third party perceives a crime as motivated by one of these biases, the crime will be (re)classified in the SEC accordingly.
In addition, a Police Action Protocol for hate crimes and discrimination sets forth the operational actions and the treatment of victims of such crimes. Every year, a comprehensive report on hate crime incidents is prepared and published on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.
A hate crime victimization survey was carried out between 18 December 2020 and 31 March 2021.
Hate crime victim support
Specialized hate crime victim support is provided as part of the general victim support system in Spain. The government has adopted a number of measures focused on the victims of hate crime.
The Ministry of the Interior has a dedicated protocol for law enforcement that regulates how hate crime cases are handled and sets out the specific rights of hate crime victims. There is also a dedicated National Office to Combat Hate Crimes, which is tasked with improving assistance to hate crime victims. Hate crime victim support is also a main pillar of the current Hate Crime Action Plan (2019-2021). It includes measures to promote first-line support and advisory services by establishing a permanent agenda of meetings with civil society, drafting guidelines, and informing the Offices for Assistance to Victims about the specificities of hate crimes. There are also measures in place to ensure an adequate response following a crime, such as allowing better reporting and preparing materials for persons with intellectual disabilities. The website of the Ministry of Interior has a dedicated page on hate crimes and a contact email for the victims.
Support services are offered by the Offices for Assistance to Victims – a free public service provided in all Autonomous Communities that does not require victims to first submit a complaint. The Office offers information on the procedure for filing charges, the benefits of psychological assistance and advice on social resources, and can also accompany victims to court, among other services. Some support to victims of hate crimes is provided by civil society organizations (CSOs), although the geographical reach of these services is limited.
There is an individual needs assessment (INA) procedure in place for law enforcement that includes examining a potential bias motivation. INAs are usually conducted just once, however. Police are required to provide information and guidelines to victims in simple, clear and accessible language. For victims with intellectual or developmental disabilities, a facilitator may be allowed to intervene to ensure the victim's access to justice on first contact with the police. The facilitator's functions include establishing contact with police officers and ensuring effective communication between the person with disabilities and the police and court teams.
Police refer victims to the Offices for Assistance to Victims depending on the seriousness of the crime or if requested by the victim. Police may also refer the victim to specialized hate crime victim support providers, although the process is not formalized and there are not many CSOs providing specialist support. There are, however, designated police officers that liaise with CSOs. While there are no police officers specializing in hate crimes, training courses on the subject are offered to all police officers. Specialized prosecutors are assigned to hate crime cases. Issues related to sensitive and respectful treatment of victims are included in the standards laid down by the hate crime protocol for law enforcement.
Special protection measures that can be granted to hate crime victims include the following: avoiding direct contact between victims and their family members and the perpetrator; protecting victims' privacy; allowing the victim to be accompanied by a person of their choice during proceedings; informing the victim about the perpetrator's release or escape; and recording statements. Victims are also eligible for free-of-charge interpretation services. Victims of hate crime have the same procedural rights as victims of all other crimes and can claim compensation.