The Austrian Integration and Diversity Department (Referat Minderheitenkontakte) at the Austrian Police and 'Fair und Sensibel Österreich' Association engage in a number of activities to improve police relations with minority groups and to aid integration into Austrian society. These are designed to raise awareness and improve the reporting of hate crimes within minority groups.
Some of the initiatives they carry out include:
In this page:
Assessments of the practice are conducted by the Integration and Diversity Department (Referat Minderheitenkontakte) and the Association. No social partners are involved.
Reports and questionnaires are used to carry out evaluations. These are mainly carried out by the Association for EU-funded projects.
No specific indicators have been developed for measuring effectiveness and standardised data have yet to be collected. In addition, no brochures or fliers have been produced or published.
However, the verbal information campaigns have helped to raise awareness among migrant groups of hate crime-related topics.
Face-to-face communication between migrants and the police has helped increase confidence in the police, and this should make migrants feel more comfortable in reporting incidents of hate crime.
There must be a high commitment to the project from police management, along with political support for such a department to exist within the police.
Staff dedicated to working in the area are also key:
Officers working in the Department for Integration and Diversity are also trained in project management and international conflict management.
Successful communication with immigrant communities relies heavily upon creating a basis of trust, and any communication should be conducted on an equal footing. This means people from those groups are more likely to be receptive to any messages they hear from the police. Regular engagement also increases the likelihood of cooperation.
The creation of a Department of Integration and Diversity. Having a dedicated contact point within the police force helps to build confidence with migrants. In turn, this increases the likelihood of hate crimes being reported.
Start date: Department founded in 2010.
End date: 2015.
Scope of the practice: The Department – local; the Association - national.
Target group: Members of minority groups, people with disabilities.
Beneficiaries: Migrants, deaf people.
Key objectives: To encourage peaceful relations between different population groups in Austria; to support the integration of people from migrant backgrounds; to build confidence in the Austrian police; and to promote communication between members of the target group and the Austrian police.
The activities of the Department and the Association are not based on a specific hate crime legal framework.
The legal basis for the Department’s activities is the Criminal Procedure Code, Security Police Act – Strafprozessordnung, Sicherheitspolizeigesetz.
The legal basis for the Association is the Association’s Act.
See the Fair und Sensibel Österreich website.