The practice aims to ensure that victims of hate crime are treated sensitively and receive appropriate support before, during and after criminal proceedings.
Victims of hate crime are listed in section 2 of the Act on Victims of Crimes. This grants them certain rights to protect them from further harm.
Often, hate crime victims are also classified as ‘especially vulnerable victims’. This always applies for those subjected to violence or threats of violence during the incident. An amendment to the Act is currently being processed. All hate crime victims will then be considered as ‘especially vulnerable’, regardless of whether violence or threats of violence occurred. ‘Especially vulnerable victims’ are also granted extra rights compared to other victims.
Every victim can request measures to prevent contact with the alleged offender. Relevant authorities are obliged to satisfy this request if it concerns an ‘especially vulnerable’ victim insofar as possible.
Necessary steps are also taken to prevent victims from seeing the person or people that are being prosecuted, if they so wish. Audiovisual technology is used where possible.
Questions which are of a sensitive nature to an interviewed victim can only be asked if they are necessary for clarifying information essential to the investigation. The formulation of the question is adjusted according to the age, personal experience and mental state of the victim.
During pre-trial proceedings, a victim can ask to be interviewed by a person of the same or opposite gender. A request from an especially vulnerable victim must always be granted if important reasons do not prevent it. Victims can also request an interpreter for giving testimonies, if needed.
Due to the sometimes distressing and sensitive subject matters, pre-trial interviews of vulnerable victims should be done by trained staff. Insofar as possible, the interviews are conducted so that they need not be repeated later. If follow-up interviews are required, then these are carried out by the same person.
All victims have the right to choose a person of trust to accompany them throughout the criminal proceedings. They provide the victim with necessary (mainly psychological) support, and can also act as the victim's proxy.
Victims are entitled to access information (within a legally determined scope) concerning the matter they are involved in.
According to the Act on Victims of Crimes, every victim has the right to be provided with professional assistance, including:
This assistance is provided by organisations listed in the Register of providers of assistance to crime victims. Support is available before, during and after proceedings for as long as required.
Should this help be required by a particularly vulnerable victim, then organisations are obliged to provide this free of charge and without delay.
Most of the accredited providers serve a larger target group than hate crime victims. Only one has declared itself a hate crime specialist. This provider received financial support from the government in both 2014 and 2015.
A new system of education and training of law enforcement authorities was created with regard to the specific needs of hate crime victims. The training of police officers is handled by the Ministry of Interior.
The training of judges and prosecutors is led by the Justice Academy (Justiční Akademie) and is voluntary.
In 2015, numerous seminars were organised concerning topics related to hate crime and vulnerable victims:
In January 2016, a one-day hate crime seminar took place. Topics included an explanation of the difference between hate crime and hate speech.
In this page:
A new Act on the Victims of Crimes was enacted in order to implement the EU’s Victims’ Directive. This Directive set out minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. In light of this, a new system for the education and training of law enforcement officers was then created to address the specific needs of crime victims.
The Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic is responsible for impact assessments. When carrying out the assessment, regular consultation (approximately once a year or when legislative changes are needed) with the entities providing assistance to crime victims is of great importance. The feedback provided by those organisations is then used to evaluate the practice. There is no institutionalised working group. Communication is formal and usually conducted via email, with meetings arranged when necessary.
According to information from law enforcement authorities and from organisations supporting victims, hate crime reporting has improved. This is due to the greater possibilities to provide any crime victim with protection from the perpetrator and provide him or her with efficient psychological and physical assistance.
Every crime victim needs to be treated sensitively by law enforcement authorities throughout the criminal proceedings.
Appropriate support and assistance should be provided to every crime victim to minimise the risk of further psychological or psychical harm. It is therefore essential to provide victims with professional help and legal aid. Legal aid also serves to make the victims aware of their rights.
One of the most important factors in the practice’s development was the training provided by the Justice Academy to police officers.
The whole practice can be transferred to other Member States.
Start date: 1 August 2013.
End date: Ongoing (as of April 2016).
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Particularly vulnerable victims of hate crime.
Beneficiaries: All victims of hate crime.
Key objectives: To provide the necessary support and assistance for victims of hate crime.
The practice is not based on a specific hate crime legal framework. It is instead based on the relevant provisions of the Act on the Victims of Crimes and the Criminal Code.
The Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic.