Promising Practice

Working group “Registration of hate crimes”

Subwerkgroep “Registratie van haatmisdrijven”/Sous-groupe de travail “Enregistrement des délits de haine”
A dedicated working group on improving hate crime registration has been established in Belgium. The group is composed of representatives of the Equal Opportunities Team at the Federal Public Service Justice, the police, the judiciary and the national equality body – the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities. The aim of this working group is to address deficiencies in the current process for registering hate crimes in Belgium and provide recommendations on required policy and technical responses.
Tír
Belgium
Type
Improve recording and data collection
Category
Cross institutional cooperation
Monitoring progress and impact
Provision of guidance, training and capacity building

Organisation

Equal Opportunities Team (Federal Public Service Justice), the integrated police service, the judiciary and equality bodies – the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities (UNIA) and the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (Cel Gelijke Kansen, de Geïntegreerde Politie, de gerechtelijke macht het Interfederaal Gelijkekansencentrum (UNIA) en het Instituut voor de gelijkheid van vrouwen en mannen/La cellule Egalité des chances, la Police Intégrée, le pouvoir judiciaire, le Centre interfédéral pour l’égalité des chances (UNIA) et l’Institut pour l’égalité des femmes et des hommes).

Start and end date

Start date:

8 July 2020.

End date:

ongoing (as of May 2021).

Scope

National.

Target group(s)

The working group on registration of hate crimes, the COL 13/2013 working group, the integrated police service and the judiciary.

Funding

Funded by regular budget – integrated in the regular operations of the members the COL 13/2013 Working Group.

Objectives

  • Make use of the recommendations of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights following a national diagnostic workshop on improving hate crime recording. This workshop, which was held in January 2020, was organised in collaboration with the Equal Opportunities Team of the Federal Public Service Justice and focused on the registration of hate crimes.
  • Optimise the registration of hate crimes.
  • Provide solutions to the different obstacles to the registration of hate crime in Belgium.

Outputs

  • The responsible service and budget for and the feasibility, timing and priority of the different recommendations are indicated.
  • Investigation into how the different recommendations can be put into practice and the development of concrete proposals.
  • Formulation of proposals for the COL 13/2013 working group on adaptation of COL 13/2013 if the operationalisation of the recommendations requires them to do so.
  • Continued reflection on how to improve the registration of hate crimes and the proposal of additional recommendations.

Description

In January 2020, FRA and ODIHR organised a workshop on the registration of hate crimes and offences in collaboration with the Equal Opportunities Team of the Federal Public Service Justice. Following the recommendations that FRA and ODIHR made at the workshop, a working group composed of representatives of the Equal Opportunities Team, the police, the judiciary and UNIA was set up to optimise the registration of hate crimes. The aim of the working group on the registration of hate crimes is to provide solutions to the various deficiencies in the registration of hate crimes in Belgium: currently, there is no obligation to systematically register all hate crimes at police level; it is technically impossible to register cases of multiple discrimination (hate crimes that are committed on the basis of several protected criteria); and there is no systematic transmission of registrations made by the police to the information technology (IT) systems of the judiciary and the Central Criminal Records Office.

The working group serves as a subgroup of the COL 13/2013 working group and consists of police and judicial IT experts, police and judicial statisticians, field actors, equality bodies, the coordinating magistrate of the COL 13/2013 working group and the Equal Opportunities Team. The working group on the registration of hate crimes monitors the implementation of FRA’s and ODIHR’s recommendations and examines whether or not COL 13/2013 can be adopted to make the process of registering hate crimes more efficient.

Critical success factors

  • The members of the subgroup have a clear mandate from their superiors to take the necessary steps to ensure the operationalisation of the recommendations and suggestions.
  • When examining the recommendations, the IT systems of both the police and the judiciary are taken into account and adjustments to all IT systems should be made on the basis of the same logic and terminology.

Actors involved in the design and implementation of the practice

Representatives of both the integrated police service (local police and federal police) and the judiciary are part of the working group, as well as field actors, who are aware of what is necessary, feasible and possible in practice (e.g. reference police officers, reference magistrates and the Local Police Permanent Commission). In addition, cooperation with equality bodies is important within the working group: representatives of UNIA and the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men provide expertise on specific topics. Depending on the theme and the issues, the working group can seek advice from experts (such as victim services and academics). The working group can also ask civil society organisations for feedback on certain questions, which will be taken into account in any reflections by the working group.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation have not been carried out yet. The work of the subgroup is still in progress, and concrete and final proposals are yet to be formulated. Regular meetings are organised within the subgroup to discuss the different suggestions. A final document with different suggestions on how to improve the registration of hate crimes will be presented at the working group in charge of evaluating COL 13/2013.

Publicly available contact details

Equal Opportunities Team (Federal Public Service Justice)

Email: equal@just.fgov.be