National frameworks to address hate crime in Cyprus

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

Hate crime recording and data collection

The recording of hate crime is regulated by Police Standing Order 3/38, “Management of Offences and Anti-Discrimination Issues”, which regulates that any incident and offence related to hate crime be recorded to the electronic system of the Police. Additionally, the police officer receiving a complaint must complete a specific police form (#293) for reporting racist offences and incidents motivated by hate.

The Cyprus Police records as hate crimes any offence or incident reported or perceived as such by (i) the victim, (ii) a person acting on behalf of the victim, (iii) a person who was present and witnessed the incident, (iv) a member of the police, or (v) the Ombudsman. Hate crimes are recorded when a bias motivation on the following grounds has been identified: "race", community, language, colour, religion, political or other beliefs, ethnic origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender.

Subsequently, the form is sent to the Liaison Officer of the District Department – tasked with monitoring anti-discrimination issues in the relevant District – who forwards it to the Human Rights and Combating Discrimination Office for statistical purposes.

An internal police system for recording bias-motivated incidents and offences has been in place since 2005. The system is partly integrated within the national electronic Crime Report Registry. The system is administered by the Human Rights and Combating Discrimination Office of the European Union and International Police Cooperation Directorate at the Police Headquarters.

In addition to formally recorded hate crimes, the Office gathers data from additional official and non-official channels, such as police station logbooks, civil society organizations or other non-police agencies, media reports and direct disclosures by victims. "Unofficial" information about incidents is cross-checked with other sources, and the relevant incidents are formally recorded and processed as hate crimes.

Police recording and statistics are based on the incident/offence/case approach. Therefore, multiple charges and/or offenders and/or victims are counted as a single incident. Statistics are available on the Cyprus Police website in English and Greek.

Hate crime victim support

While Cyprus has a general victim support system, there is no state support provided specifically to hate crime victims.

Various agencies – including the Cyprus Police, the Social Welfare Services, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance – play a role in providing support to crime victims. However, there is no specific body in charge of the overall co-ordination of victim support services. The Ministry of Interior is responsible for developing policies and proposing legislation and measures related to the treatment of trafficking victims and the provision of shelter for trafficked women. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for drawing up policies related to domestic violence and violence against women.

Specific types of victims, such as victims of trafficking and domestic violence, can benefit from specialist assistance and protection, including through services provided by civil society organizations.  

The Cyprus Police developed a guide for crime victims with information on their rights. The document includes information on the right to: (i) be understood and the right to understand the information provided; (ii) be accompanied by a person of the victim's choice; (iii) know the particulars of the Police Officer handling their case; (iv) interpretation during first contact with the police; (v) receive information about the progress of their case; (vi) be informed in case of the release or escape of the offender and be informed of possible protection measures; and (vii) additional rights of child victims, etc. The document – "Crime Victims: Victims, Support and Protection" – is provided to all victims who report a crime to the police and is available in Greek, English, Turkish, Romanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, French, Chinese, Russian, and Braille, and is uploaded onto the official police website.

Furthermore, a Police Standing Order on the "Rights and Protection of Victims' Rights", along with police circulars, describes victims' rights and the duties of police officers towards crime victims. Additionally, a personalized victim assessment questionnaire was prepared to identify and help police take a decision on victims' special protection needs. The questionnaire is structured in three parts: a preliminary assessment, a detailed assessment, and a summary risk assessment in cases of violence between ex- or current spouses, cohabiting partners or partners.

During first contact with police, victims can be accompanied by a person of their choice, unless this is contrary to their interests or detrimental to the progress of the case. Victims with a disability can be accompanied by a person of their choice throughout the investigation of their case.

If necessary, the police refers the victims to the following institutions: stare medical services, mental health services, social welfare services, educational psychology service (in the case of minors), 1440 helpline (in cases of domestic violence), and civil society organizations. The police and other services involved may inform the Social Welfare Services, which arrange for the provision of free and confidential support services to the victim, based on their needs. The Social Welfare Services ensure that the victim receives information, advice and overall support concerning the enjoyment of their rights, including, inter alia, networking with other services that provide psychological and financial support, medical services, and accommodation.   

In terms of the right to information, the police are required to communicate clearly with victims in a manner that they understand, and to take into account any personal characteristics, including a disability that affects their ability to understand or be understood. A "Code of Conduct on Handling Crime Victims" is available to guide police officers on the treatment of victims in accordance with the law. A high-ranking police officer was designated by the Chief of Police to monitor compliance with the Code of Conduct and to regulate any other issues arising from its implementation.

Hate crime capacity building

The Cyprus Police Academy has incorporated training on hate crime into a number of its training programmes, including for police recruits. Specifically, the training programme for Chief Inspectors, Inspectors, Sergeants, Criminal Investigation Department, members or the Community Police and members of Menoyia Detention Center include subjects related to combating xenophobia and racism, including online hate, as well as on related topics, such as protection and respect for human rights and respect for diversity.

Furthermore, Cyprus Police Academy, in collaboration with the Office on Human Rights and Combating Discrimination, offers lectures on hate crimes and human rights, including on the following subjects: the legislative and investigative frameworks for combating racial and other discrimination - a lecture included in the basic and advanced Crime Investigation Programmes; lectures on Racism, Xenophobia, Racial Discrimination, Characteristics of Religion and Investigation of Racial and Hate Crimes; and lectures on Combating Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia, based on Multicultural Sensitivity, which are included in the Community Policing programme.