You are here

What do we know

Participating States have committed themselves to pass legislation that provides for penalties that take into account the gravity of hate crime, to take action to address under-reporting, and to introduce or further develop capacity-building activities for law enforcement, prosecution and judicial officials to prevent, investigate and prosecute hate crimes. Specifically, states have repeatedly committed themselves to collect, maintain and make public reliable data on hate crimes, across the criminal justice system from the police to the courts. In recent years, participating States have consolidated their commitments on hate crime in recognition of the importance of a comprehensive approach in addressing the many facets of the problem.

As the OSCE institution focusing on the human dimension of security, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has been tasked with supporting states in their efforts to meet this range of commitments, and to support the efforts of civil society actors working to prevent and respond to hate crimes.

Every year, ODIHR publishes data on hate crimes and hate incidents from participating States, civil society organizations and international organizations. These data are released on International Tolerance Day, which falls on 16 November.

Much of the information and data presented on this website has been provided by National Points of Contact on Combating Hate Crimes (NPCs), appointed by the governments of participating States. Particular attention is devoted to gathering data relating to the specific bias motivations on which ODIHR has been asked to focus.


2018 Hate Crime Data

Forty-two participating States have submitted hate crime information to ODIHR for 2018. Of these, 41 provided statistics, while 26 provided statistics that are disaggregated by bias motivation.

The official figures are complemented by reports on hate incidents from 178 civil society groups, covering 44 participating States. These contributions amount to 5,735 hate incidents, including 3,214 disaggregated statistical incidents and 2,521 descriptive incidents. This information includes incidents provided by the Holy See, UNHCR, IOM and OSCE missions.

Learn more about our annual hate crime reporting efforts here.

General challenges to reporting hate crimes

A key challenge remains the effective implementation of hate crime laws. While hate crime provisions exist in 53 of the 57 OSCE participating States, official data indicate that few incidents are recorded as hate crimes by police. Comprehensive and strategic policies are needed to uphold the law and enable police to recognize, record and investigate hate crimes.

Where hate incidents are registered by police, inconsistent recording procedures or the use of different hate crime definitions within a country's criminal justice system complicate efforts to track hate crime cases. This can prevent police, prosecutors and others from following up on investigations and securing justice for the victims. 

Improved hate crime recording and investigation can strengthen victims' trust in the authorities, in turn increasing reporting rates. To make this possible, government bodies can reach out to and co-operate with civil society and victim groups.

ODIHR has published a range of tools to assist states in building a comprehensive criminal justice response to hate crime that incorporates civil society's expertise, as well as a practical guide on building civil society coalitions to address hate crimes.

Learn more about ODIHR's capacity-building programmes here.