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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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Implementing the practice: step by step

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.

Evaluation of the practice

  • The Ministry of Interior - Department of Public Security -Central Directorate of Criminal Police (Ministero dell’Interno –Dipartimento della Pubblica Sicurezza - Direzione Centrale Polizia Criminale) is responsible for assessing the impact.
  • The project partners carry out the impact assessment (UNAR: Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali- National Office Against Racial Discrimination, NGOs, University....).
  • Evaluation forms are used during the training activities. In 2014, 89% of the participants stated that their knowledge/understanding of hate crime changed, and that the training met all their expectations. The content of the seminar was considered relevant and the majority of participants asked for more time to discuss such complex and important issues.
  • To date, OSCAD has strengthened cooperation between the national police and the carabinieri on combating hate crime. It has also significantly improved cooperation between police agencies and all stakeholders involved in hate crime.
  • The OSCAD Secretariat has become an important and ‘easy-to-reach’ point of contact. As a result it is easier for international institutions, the national equality body, civil society organisations and private citizens to directly contact specialist officers to deal with hate crime issues.
  • The data received is also monitored. The data monitoring is used to evaluate the effectiveness of OSCAD as a tool against under-reporting, also in view of the Italian contribution to the annual hate crime report, compiled by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. It has led to better hate crime data collection and Italy’s data in the OSCE-ODIHR hate crime report has also increased significantly.
  • Reporting has improved for a number of reasons. These include: the creation of a dedicated email to report hate crimes, even anonymously; better awareness and more-skilled police officers/cadets in recognising and combating hate crimes; better cooperation with the equality body, civil society organisations, universities, etc. that are in contact with victims and witnesses, and who trust OSCAD; data collection for analysis and targeted interventions; and communication campaigns to combat prejudices against minorities, discrimination and to increase awareness among civil society with a particular focus on students.

Critical success factors

  • It is crucial to have adequate resources and the commitment of government, police hierarchies and all stakeholders involved in the project.
  • Clearly defining targeted interventions and strategies are also needed to collect good quality data on hate crime and to improve data collection.
  • Memoranda of understanding or other forms of cooperation with civil organisations help strengthen information exchange and the ability to face the problem holistically.
  • Cooperation and exchange of information among different law enforcement agencies is important in order to increase hate crime monitoring and to create common standards (for training, for interventions and investigations...).
  • It is also important to have in OSCAD an official governmental body, created to protect minorities, that is part of the senior decision-making process, where national policies are established, for example.

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

OSCAD practices can be particularly useful when there is more than one police force operating. 

Key Facts

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.

Legal basis of the practice

The practice is based on:

  • Decree of the Chief of Police and Director General of Public Security dated 2 September 2010 - Decreto del Capo della Polizia - Direttore Generale della Pubblica Sicurezza del 2 Settembre 2010
  • Art. 6 Law 121/1981
  • Law 205/93 (Mancino law)
  • Art.3 Law 94/2009 Provisions on public security

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • Ministry of Interior - Department of Public Security – Chief of Police Director General of Public Security - Central Directorate of Criminal Police - Ministero dell’Interno – Dipartimento della Pubblica Sicurezza – Capo della Polizia Direttore Generale della Pubblica Sicurezza - Direzione Centrale Polizia Criminale.

Implementing Bodies

  • Ministry of Interior - Department of Public Security - Central Directorate of Criminal Police - Ministero dell’Interno – Dipartimento della Pubblica Sicurezza - Direzione Centrale Polizia Criminale.

Further information

OSCAD (English - Italian)

Contacts

  • Email: Oscad (at) dcpc (dot) interno (dot) it