Hate crime

Violence and offences motivated by racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, or by bias against a person’s disability, sexual orientation or gender identity are all examples of hate crime.

These crimes can affect anyone in society. But whoever the victim is, such offences harm not only the individual targeted but also strike at the heart of EU commitments to democracy and the fundamental rights of equality and non-discrimination. 

To combat hate crime, the EU and its Member States need to make these crimes more visible and hold perpetrators to account. Numerous rulings by the European Court of Human Rights oblige countries to ‘unmask’ the bias motivation behind criminal offences.

Efforts to form targeted policies for combating hate crime are hampered by under-recording, ie the fact that few EU Member States collect comprehensive data on such offences. In addition, a lack of trust in the law enforcement and criminal justice systems means that the majority of hate crime victims do not report their experiences, leading to under-reporting. FRA’s work documents both of these gaps in data collection, as well as the extent of prejudice against groups such as Roma, LGBT, Muslims, and migrant communities. At the same time, it makes recommendations on how the situation could be improved.

Article 1 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees the right to human dignity, while Article 10 stipulates the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Article 21 prohibits discrimination based on any ground, including sex, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

Latest news View all

14/06/2016

FRA Director calls for zero tolerance for hate crime

There is no place for hate crime or hate speech in Europe, if the EU wants to ensure an open and tolerant society. This was the view of FRA’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, at the launch of the EU’s High Level Group on combating racism and xenophobia in Brussels on 14 June.

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April
2016

Ensuring justice for hate crime victims: professional perspectives

Report
Hate crime is the most severe expression of discrimination, and a core fundamental rights abuse. Various initiatives target such crime, but most hate crime across the EU remains unreported and unprosecuted, leaving victims without redress. To counter this trend, it is essential for Member States to improve access to justice for victims. Drawing on interviews with representatives from criminal courts, public prosecutors’ offices, the police, and NGOs involved in supporting hate crime victims, this report sheds light on the diverse hurdles that impede victims’ access to justice and the proper recording of hate crime.
September
2015

Antisemitism - Overview of data available in the European Union 2004-2014

Paper
Antisemitism can be expressed in the form of verbal and physical attacks, threats, harassment, property damage, graffiti or other forms of text, including on the internet. This report relates to manifestations of antisemitism as they are recorded by official and unofficial sources in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States.
September
2015

Promoting respect and diversity - Combating intolerance and hate

Paper
Regardless of ethnic origin, religion or belief, everyone living in the Union has a fundamental right to be treated equally, to be respected and to be protected from violence. This contribution paper to the Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights provides evidence of the fact that such respect is lacking, and suggests ways in which governments can ensure they fulfil their duty to safeguard this right for everyone living in the EU.