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Why was the practice needed?

The Croatian Office of the Ombudsman has a duty under the Anti-Discrimination Act to carry out research on discrimination. The Ombudsman conducted the first survey on public attitudes and perceptions of discrimination and inequality in 2009, after the Anti-Discrimination Act entered into force.

The survey was conducted with the support of the European Commission’s PROGRESS project ‘Supporting the implementation of the Anti-discrimination Act’, in partnership with the Governmental Office for Human Rights and the Centre for Peace Studies.

The objective of the survey was to determine actual perceptions and attitudes of the general population on unequal treatment in Croatian society. It used a representative sample nationally to provide a more comprehensive perspective than the one using data on complaints and court procedures.

The survey included questions sheding light on social distance, familiarity of citizens with the Anti-Discrimination Act, the extent of discrimination in general and personal experiences of discrimination.

The survey was repeated in 2012 with the financial support of the UNDP Programme and the EU PROGRESS project ‘Equal in diversity’, in cooperation with the Croatian Employment Centre and Governmental Office for Human Rights.

In the 2016 edition of the survey, the research was conducted in the context of the wider EU-funded project ‘Mind the gap: Measuring (in) equality in Croatia’.

The survey series aim to monitor the evolution of attitudes and perceptions and to ensure regular and timely data collection.

How was it implemented?

Researchers collected survey data on the attitudes of the general public regarding people with protected characteristics within the meaning of the Anti-Discrimination Act. These include: race or ethnicity or colour, gender, language, religion, political other belief, national or social origin, property, trade union membership, education, social status, marital or family status, age, health condition, disability, genetic heritage, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation.

Survey questions pertain to the general population’s (18 years and older) attitudes and perceptions of discrimination in various areas of life. It covers employment, education, health, social protection, housing and living conditions, and access to goods and services.

In all three surveys, researchers included mostly identical questions. In the 2016 survey, researchers included several new questions on the social distance of the Roma community – the social group most commonly perceived to be discriminated against - and on who are considered to be the most common perpertrators of discrimination.

In the 2009 and 2012 editions of survey, the research was conducted in two rounds (before and after national anti-discrimination campaigns), by a local research agency. In both surveys, researchers reached out to a sample of 1300 adult respondents, by way of CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing).

In the 2016 edition, researchers relied on a sample of 1000 respondents in only one round. The sample was nationally representative, by region (6 regions) and by size of settlement (4 categories).

Outputs

  • The survey reports from 2009, 2012, and 2016. The 2016 edition also came with a presentation summarising the findings.
  • In every survey edition, data results shed new light on prejudice, stereotypes, and perception of discrimination in general. They also show the problem of victim under-reporting, considering the relatively low number of recorded discrimination complaints and judgements from court records.
  • As most indicators about citizens’ perception of discrimination in the surveys remain at similar levels, they show how stereotypes are deeply rooted in society, persist over time, and how creating change is slow and demanding.
  • Findings from the surveys attract the attention of media and the public. They also provide the basis for the Ombudsman’s annual reports and planned efforts on combating discrimination, including awareness raising and educational activities.

Key success factors

  • Carrying out the surveys in cooperation with other stakeholders (NGOs, a local research agency, and government bodies) and off-budget financing.

Technical information

  • Data sources covered: Victimisation surveys; Attitudinal surveys.
  • Areas of life covered: Employment; Education; Health; Social Protection; Housing and living conditions; Access to good and services; Others: Justice; public administration; media; culture.
  • Target audience: Public administrations and the general public
  • Duration: 2009 – present
  • Geographical scope: National
  • Leading institution: National Ombudsman
  • Other organisations involved/consulted: Centre for peace studies
  • Financial & human resources: Budget: €14,500 (2016 survey); Source of the budget: European Commission, DG Justice Project’Mind the gap: Measuring (in)equality in Croatia’; Staff: No information provided.

Contacts

Office of the Ombudsman /Pučki pravobranitelj

Email: info (at) ombudsman (dot) hr