National frameworks to address hate crime in Greece

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

Hate crime recording and data collection

The Hellenic Police has established two departments for countering racist violence in the sub-divisions of State Security of Athens and Thessaloniki. There are also 68 police offices responsible for investigating racist violence and hate crimes in the country. In both the offices and police departments, police officers use a single, unified, electronic system – the PoliceOnLine network – and the application "Significant Reports" to record hate-motivated crimes. The latter allows police to record a crime using a "racist crime" marker which, once flagged, requires police to select a racist motive based on the following protected characteristics: "race", colour, national or ethnic origin, genealogical descent, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. All crimes that have been classified as racist crimes are recorded in a separate electronic database. The State Security Division of the Hellenic Police Headquarters analyses the data extracted from the database.  

The Public Prosecutor's Offices record hate crime cases separately by registering them with a separate indicator RV (for "racist violence"). This flagging allows cases to be tracked until their referral to the competent court or until the case is archived (such as when the perpetrator is unknown or when the Public Prosecutor's decision not to prosecute).

In June 2018, an "Agreement on inter-agency co-operation on addressing racist crimes in Greece"  was concluded by the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, the Ministry for Migration Policy, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, the Supreme Court, the Public Prosecutor at the Supreme Court, the National School of Judges, the Racist Violence Recording Network – which comprises of 52 civil society organizations (CSOs) based in Greece – and ODIHR's National Point of Contact on Combating Hate Crimes for Greece. The agreement established a single state mechanism for recording incidents of racist violence at the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights. Twice a year, the Hellenic Police sends the data it has recorded to the Ministry of Justice, which further processes the data, monitors the criminal procedure of the cases, and uses the data to inform state policy. Data collected by police include pending cases, criminal prosecutions, first-degree convictions, second-degree convictions, first-degree acquittals, second-degree decisions, final judgments, cases filed in the Archive by law provision, and cases filed in the Archive of Unknown Perpetrators.

In 2022, the Office of Collection and Processing of Judicial Statistics Data in the Central Service of the Ministry of Justice was established by Presidential Decree 47/2022 (Government Gazette 114/A/17-6-2022). The office reports directly to the Minister of Justice and is responsible, among others mandates, for the systematic collection and transmission of statistical data, including on hate crime cases.

At the same time, the Directorate of State Security of the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police and the Ministry of Justice continue to co-operate to strengthen the recording of suspected racist crimes. The Hellenic Police sends data on such cases to the Ministry of Justice twice a year for further processing and monitoring of the criminal development. Currently, the Ministry of Justice collects data from the Public Prosecutor's Offices and the Courts concerning cases prosecuted or judged as having an aggravating circumstance (article 82 A of the Penal Code) without further analysis of the specific crimes under investigation.

Hate crime victim support

Greece provides general victim support and specialized support for hate crime victims. Greek law does not provide a definition of a hate crime victim.

General and specialized support services are delivered by the police and other providers, including local and regional social services, mental health structures, local community centres providing advocating services, counselling centres, specialized services for specific types of victims (such as minors), private legal entities, and professional and voluntary associations. The Counselling Center for Social Solidarity provides emergency psychological and social support services to hate crime victims, as well as their relatives. Civil society organizations (CSOs) have noted that some hate crime victims are either unaware of the existing support systems or cannot access free-of-charge support services. Some services are not available country-wide.

CSOs play an important role in providing support to victims of hate crime. The 52 CSO members of the Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) are frequently the first responders in hate crime cases, and offer information, legal aid and psychological, social and material support to the victims. In case an RVRN member is unable to cater to the needs of a given victim, it refers the victim to a different network member.

Co-operation between criminal justice bodies and civil society on hate crime victim support is regulated by law and through a dedicated cross-governmental protocol. There are specialized police departments, Racist Violence Offices and hate crime prosecutors across the country. Police officers, prosecutors and judges receive training and guidance on addressing hate crime. However, civil society have reported gaps in hate crime victim support, such as a lack of psychological and social support to foreigners who suffered from hate crimes, and a disconnect between medical services and criminal justice system actors. Further, victims are sometimes treated merely as a source of information in criminal proceedings.

Once a victim's needs are identified, the police or other responsible authority may refer the victim to service providers. Similarly, prosecuting and judicial authorities can also refer the victim to a competent authority (e.g., the Juvenile and Social Welfare Services of the Ministry of Justice) for an individual assessment of the victim's support and protection needs. An individual needs assessment (INA) takes into account the personal characteristics of the victim, such as age, race, colour, religion, nationality or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender and disability, as well as the extent of the damage suffered by the victim and the type, severity, circumstances and nature of the crime (e.g., hate crime). The INA is only conducted on the victim's request. As a result, INAs tend to be conducted late in the process, and not for all victims. Civil society actors have commented on the need for a more standardized approach to conducting INAs.

All victims have the right to obtain legal assistance, translation services, information about their case, protection measures, as well as restorative justice solutions and state compensation. Protection measures in place for hate crime victims include the custody of trained personnel, the possibility to record victim testimony, and the non-disclosure of the victim's key personal data in the testimony. Additional measures are applied when the hate crime victim is a migrant. In such cases, the law prohibits the removal of undocumented migrants who have been victims of a hate crime, and those who are not citizens of the EU may be granted a residence permit for humanitarian reasons.

According to the Greek Code of Criminal Procedure (Article 63), victims have the right to take part in criminal procedures as an injured party and not only as a witness. Victims who do not wish to participate as an injured party are nevertheless informed at the pretrial stage in case the prosecutor decides not to pursue the case. This information is given only when the prosecutor (of the court of first instance) decides to close the case, and not when there is prosecution only for the base offence without the aggravating circumstance of hate crime (Article 82 A of the Penal Code). 

In 2021, the Ministry of Justice and the National Council Against Racism and Intolerance produced a guide for victims of hate crimes. The guide includes information on the existing legal framework, the rights of hate crime victims, instructions on the steps they can take, as well as a list of services available to victims.

Hate crime capacity building

In 2017, Greece implemented ODIHR's Prosecutors and Hate Crime Training (PAHCT) programme.