Promising practice :
An analysis of dismissed files with charges under the discrimination law: National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology (Nationaal Instituut voor Criminalistiek en Criminologie/Institut National de Criminalistique et de Criminologie, NICC). Locks and keys: Victims of hate crimes and hate incidents on what helps after the hate: King Baudouin Foundation (Koning Boudewijnstichting/Fondation Roi Baudouin, KBF). Both studies were realised in cooperation with the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities (UNIA), the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men and the College of Public Prosecutors of the courts of appeal.
Study 1 (NICC): December 2018.
Study 1 (NICC): 12 November 2020.
Study 2 (KBF): 19 November 2020.
Funded by the national equality bodies – UNIA and the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men – and the King Baudouin Foundation.
The issue of hate crime has long been a focus of political, judicial and police attention. Nevertheless, there is a high rate of failure to prosecute in these matters. It is also known that victims of this type of crime are sometimes reluctant to take steps to assert their rights. To objectify these phenomena, two complementary studies were carried out.
The first study, which NICC conducted, aimed to understand the reasons why these cases are not pursued. The research was based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 371 cases relating to anti-discrimination legislation that were not pursued by the public prosecutor’s office and group interviews with magistrates. The research shows that the complexity of the facts, the technical nature of the legislation and the sensitivity of the social relations involved in the cases in question make it impossible for law enforcement agencies to take simple, non-stereotyped actions. The study also highlights the relevance of a broad framework of transversal approaches that combine multiple interventions, such as mediation, with the repressive approach.
For the second study, the KBF looked at the experiences of victims of hate crime to find out what stopped them from taking action in different situations and what helped them recover after their experiences. This study highlights that it is important to the victims that the police or the courts officially recognise the crime. It also highlights the role that each actor (witnesses, employers, schools, associations, mediation services, psychologists, UNIA, etc.) can play in supporting victims.
The College of Public Prosecutors of the courts of appeal in partnership with UNIA and the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men commissioned both studies. In addition, group interviews with magistrates from different judicial districts in Belgium were organised as part of the research that NICC conducted.
For the second study, the KBF conducted in-depth interviews with victims of hate crimes, police officers and magistrates to analyse the obstacles to and facilitators of filing complaints.
As both elements of the project are scientific research studies, monitoring is not applicable.
Equal Opportunities Team, Federal Public Service Justice