Osservatorio per la Sicurezza Contro gli Atti Discriminatori (OSCAD)
OSCAD is a multi-agency body formed by the Italian national police and the carabinieri, housed within the Department of Public Security at the Ministry of the Interior that takes a holistic approach to tackling hate crime.
OSCAD aims to encourage reporting and facilitating the recording of hate crime. As Italian law does not allow third-party reporting or anonymous/online reporting, OSCAD adopted an ‘intermediate step’ to address under-reporting. It created a dedicated email address (OSCAD (at) dcpc (dot) interno (dot) it) for institutions, associations, private citizens to anonymously report hate crimes, hate incidents and discrimination. However, reporting acts of discrimination to OSCAD does not replace the need to file a police report or call the emergency services.
The OSCAD Secretariat receives reports concerning all types of discrimination, collects the data in a database and then analyses the information. The information is integrated into the National System of Criminal Data Collection (SDI).
OSCAD cooperates closely with the Italian Equality body (‘UNAR’, National Office Against Racial Discrimination). In 2011, OSCAD and UNAR signed a Memorandum of understanding for sharing data and organising training programmes. According to this memorandum, UNAR forwards any case of discrimination liable for prosecution reported to its contact centre to OSCAD; OSCAD sends UNAR any report received not liable for prosecution. Once an incident is reported, OSCAD analyses it, and if it is a criminal offence, contacts relevant police services for a proper investigation
Training is also a priority for OSCAD; it is needed to raise awareness among police staff and improve their efforts in preventing and combating discrimination and hate crime. Training and information seminars have focused on specific topics presented by experts from the equality body, NGOs, universities and international organisations. They have covered: OSCAD, and its roles and responsibilities; ethnic profiling; hate speech in new media; human rights in law and in practice; LGBTI hate crime; Roma Sinti and Travellers issues; capacity building in law enforcement; and how to deal with vulnerable victims.
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After many attacks against LGBTI people in the summer of 2010, LGBTI associations asked for their security needs to receive specific attention. The immediate answer from the Director General of Public Security’s Chief of Police was the creation of OSCAD, an operational tool for preventing and fighting all forms of discrimination. This was then formalised by Decree.
For any OSCAD activity, the OSCAD Secretariat first receives a proposal from UNAR, NGOs, international organisations which is then discussed with all parties. The OSCAD Secretariat then evaluates and analyses the proposal. This leads to a detailed report which is presented to the President of OSCAD for formal authorisation.
For more complex initiatives, the President of OSCAD presents a report to the Chief of Police to inform him about the subject. If the Chief of Police and/or the President of OSCAD authorise the activity, the senior officer responsible in the OSCAD Secretariat will contact the project leader to create a project plan. The project is then implemented and communicated to Italian media. There may also be a final event. At the end there is a final evaluation that looks at what took place, the problems faced, the solutions adopted and any possible lessons learned.
OSCAD practices can be particularly useful when there is more than one police force operating.
Start date: 2 September 2010.
End date: ongoing.
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations, students, teachers and private citizens in general.
Beneficiaries: All minority groups at risk of discrimination on the grounds of religious convictions, ethnic or racial origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, gender, language.
Key objectives: Preventing and fighting hate crime, hate speech and all forms of discrimination; Combating under-reporting and under-recording of hate crime; Collecting data for monitoring and analysis of hate crime; Suggesting adequate interventions and monitoring the progress of complaints, and giving advice to police agencies; Raising awareness on hate crime through training for law enforcement officers and civil society and communication campaigns for students and civil society; Increasing cooperation with civil society organisations and with the Italian National Equality Body.
The practice is based on: