National frameworks to address hate crime in Slovakia

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

Hate crime recording and data collection

The Slovak Police registers crimes using a generic criminal complaint form with the option to manually flag the "special motive" of the perpetrator (as per section 140e of the Criminal Code, special motives include: "race", ethnicity, nation, ethnic group, skin colour, sexual orientation, political beliefs, or religion), and a form on known perpetrators. The recorded data is checked and manually submitted to the electronic database on the evidence of investigation files. The Slovak system benefits from a high degree of specialization in investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Therefore, hate crime data refer to the number of initiated police investigations for a particular bias-motivated crime.

The Prosecutor's Office and the analytical centre of the Ministry of Justice use separate electronic systems that also "special motives" to be flagged. Prosecutors can request that police verify potential hate crime cases. The analytical centre receives data on hate crimes from the courts. The non-judicial court staff enter data into a statistical sheet, including information on the perpetrator's motivations as stated in the court decision and based on a special methodology. If the criminal offence was committed with a "special motive" provision, the staff also affiliates the file with a specific code related to a particular bias motivation. This allows the data to be disaggregated.

In December 2022, the Ministry of Interior conducted a survey on perceptions of safety in Slovakia as part of efforts to counter radicalization and extremism by 2024. The survey included a question on hate crimes, and found that 8 per cent of respondents had been a victim or directly knew someone who was victimized by a hate crime (namely, a physical assault). The Ministry plans to repeat the survey annually.

Hate crime victim support

Specialized hate crime victim support is provided as part of the general victim support system in Slovakia. Under Slovakia's legislation, victims of hate crime have the status of particularly vulnerable victims, and are therefore entitled to specialized help and support.

General victim support structures include healthcare providers, the centre for legal aid (provides legal aid to victims in civil law disputes), and the police (provides information for victims). The general victim support system mostly relies on the services of civil society organizations (CSOs). CSOs providing victim support services may apply to be included in a register of accredited providers maintained by the Ministry of Justice. The providers usually operate in a given region, and there is no single provider covering the entire country. A number of specialized CSO support providers, including those offering support to hate crime victims, work independently of the general victim support system.

Most CSOs receive funding from several sources, including the municipality, state grants or European Union funds. Providers accredited by the Ministry of Justice can also receive state grants covering a fixed period and, as such, are subject to the Ministry's quality control procedures. Victims can also access a publicly available list of contact points, from which they can receive guidance and assistance in each regional capital. 

Individual needs assessments are conducted by law enforcement, the courts or CSOs. The police are obliged to provide victims with information on their rights and the contact details of victim support organizations. If necessary, the police can help the victim contact a support provider. CSO providers cannot obtain a victim's contact information to reach out to them on their own initiative. It is thus up to the victim to get in touch with a selected service provider. Slovakia's legislation requires the sensitive and respectful treatment of victims by police. Police officers are regularly trained on the needs of particularly vulnerable victims. 

A victim can be accompanied by a person of their choice, including a CSO representative, during criminal proceedings. Interpretation services are also available to victims. Special protection measures can be applied to particularly vulnerable victims, including hate crime victims. These include interviewing victims in the presence of a psychologist; recording the interview or using audio-visual devices; having the interview conducted by an officer of the same sex as the victim; and imposing restriction orders on the suspect and informing the victim about their release from custody. Special support to vulnerable victims can be granted for a period of at least 90 days, with the possibility of prolongation.

Hate crimes in Slovakia are exclusively handled by the Office of the Special Prosecutor and tried by the Specialized Criminal Court. Hate crimes victims have no special procedural rights. Compensation from the offender can be sought during criminal proceedings. The victim must submit the claim for compensation before the end of the investigation, either verbally or in written form. The court may decide on the compensation or refer the victim to claim damages in civil proceedings. Compensation can be awarded for material damages, bodily harm and moral damages. In case compensation cannot be paid by the perpetrator, it can be provided by the state. For certain types of crime, Slovakia's legislation allows criminal proceedings to be terminated, such as when the foreseen prison sentence does not exceed five years, when a settlement is reached and when the victim gives their consent.

Moreover, Slovakia's Ministry of the Interior has established 16 information offices for victims of crimes located across the country, usually based in a district office in the regional headquarters. The offices were established in accordance with the amended Act No. 583/2008 Coll. on the Crime Prevention and Other Anti-Social Activity Prevention and on Amendments and Additions to Certain Acts. Their primary responsibility is to provide comprehensive support to all types of victims by offering information on their rights, referring them to appropriate support organizations, and conducting awareness-raising activities. Specifically, they provide information to victims of crime and other anti-social activities within the scope of the right to information established by a special regulation, provide victims of crime and other anti-social activities with professional assistance, and co-operate and exchange information with the government and civil society sectors. On the local and national levels, the offices collaborate on a daily basis with intervention centres, entities providing assistance to crime victims, social service providers, and public authorities. The Information offices have enabled a network of 358 support providers for victims of crime.

Slovakia has created a platform in each of the eight regions of Slovakia that meets twice a year. The platforms members include representatives of state administration, local government and civil society organizations, as well as all relevant actors a given region. The platforms discuss urgent issues in the region, such as child violence, extremism, and migration, and forward their recommendations to the national level. The platforms have a strong focus on solving crime issues and assisting crime victims. Moreover, the employees of Information offices carry out awareness-raising activities for the protection of victims of crime and other anti-social activities.

Hate crime capacity building

Slovakia has implemented ODIHR's Training Against Hate Crime for Law Enforcement (TAHCLE) programme since 2017 and the Prosecutors and Hate Crime Training (PAHCT) programme since 2018.

Recognizing the important role that these offices can play in providing sensitive and effective assistance to hate crime victims, the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic (MoI) has requested ODIHR for an online training sessions for employees of crime victim information offices from across the country. The training session was focused on Hate crimes and sensitive and respectful treatment of hate crime victims and took place in September 2023. It has equipped these professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize hate crimes and effectively support hate crime victims. The participants has been given the opportunity to understand their own biases and how these might influence their work as criminal justice professionals. They have also learnt about the concept of hate crime and the specific needs of hate crime victims, including vulnerable groups like Roma and Sinti and LGBTI+ community members. Finally, participants have learnt practical behaviours to prevent secondary victimization during the contact with the victim.