Compilation of international norms and standards on hate crime reporting, recording and data collection
This page lists international norms and standards on hate crime reporting, recording and data collection.
It is a key output of the Facing all the Facts project.
Standards include legally binding instruments, politically binding commitments, and simple recommendations from relevant guidelines. The purpose is to provide a ‘starting point’ that draws together a range of laws, policy commitments, good practice and other documents to form the basis of the first inclusive, victim-focused framework on hate crime reporting and data collection that integrates a civil society perspective. The Facing all the Facts country reports and interactive workshops tested the framework and the main report, which will be out in a few weeks, identifies areas for development that could better integrate and strengthen the current international normative framework on hate crime reporting, recording and data collection.
In brief, the ‘standards’ included in this document are:
- Legally binding standards such as judgments from the European Court of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and European Legislation including the Victims Directive and the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia
- OSCE Ministerial Commitments
- Guidance and principles documents developed under the auspices of the High Level Group on Racism and Xenophobia
- ECRI’s General Policy Recommendations
- Opinions from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency
- Report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and Council of Ministers
- Operational Guidelines developed by IGOs and civil society organisation.
List of standards
Standard 1: European Court of Human Rights rulings found that law enforcement have the duty to ‘unmask’ the bias motive in hate crimes. For racist motive see ECtHR, Šečić v. Croatia, No. 40116/02, 31 May 2007; for anti-Religious motive see ECtHR, Milanović v. Serbia, No. 44614/07, 14 December 2010; for homophobic motive see ECtHR, Identoba and Others v. Georgia, No. 73235/12, 12 May 2015. A key step in the ‘unmasking’ process is correct recording of hate crimes and incidents.
Standard 2: ECRI GPR 11 (2007) , paragraph 68 “In order to gain an overview of the situation as concerns the occurrence of manifestations of racism in society that is as accurate as possible and monitor the response of the criminal justice authorities to such manifestations, it is necessary to develop a reliable system for the recording and monitoring of racist incidents.”
Standard 3: Key Guiding Principles on Hate Crime Recording, the Subgroup on methodologies for recording and collecting data on hate crime of the High Level Group on Racism, Xenophobia and other intolerance, ‘Standard operating procedures of law enforcement agencies must provide police officers with tools to flag possible bias motivation and require that they are used; Law enforcement officers must be able to use bias indicators to identify bias motivation; Law enforcement officers must be able to flag incidents as potential hate crimes and record any bias-related information that might be useful to support further investigation.’
Standard 4: European Commission, Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law, 27 January 2014, “The existence of reliable, comparable and systematically collected data can contribute to more effective implementation of the Framework Decision. Reported incidents of hate speech and hate crime should always be registered, as well as their case history, in order to assess the level of prosecutions and sentences.”
Standard 5: Victims Rights Directive, Article 22 (1), ‘Individual assessment of victims to identify specific protection needs. Member States shall ensure that victims receive a timely and individual assessment, in accordance with national procedures, to identify specific protection needs and to determine whether and to what extent they would benefit from special measures in the course of criminal proceedings, as provided for under Articles 23 and 24, due to their particular vulnerability to secondary and repeat victimisation, to intimidation and to retaliation…. (3) In the context of the individual assessment, particular attention shall be paid to victims … who have suffered a crime committed with a bias or discriminatory motive which could, in particular, be related to their personal characteristics; …. In this regard, victims of …hate crime…shall be duly considered.’. In order to identify and meet victims needs, it is important create a system that can record these needs.
Standard 6: OSCE Ministerial Council Decision No. 9/09), Participating States of the OSCE have committed, “[To] collect, maintain and make public, reliable data and statistics in sufficient detail on hate crimes and violent manifestations of intolerance, including the numbers of cases reported to law enforcement, the numbers prosecuted and the sentences imposed.”
Standard 7: ECRI GPR No 1 (1996), ‘Ensure that accurate data and statistics are collected and published on the number of racist and xenophobic offences that are reported to the police, on the number of cases that are prosecuted, on the reasons for not prosecuting and on the outcome of cases prosecuted.”
Standard 8: Hate Crime Data-collection and monitoring mechanisms: A practical Guide, OSCE-ODIHR (2014), recommendation 18, ‘Establish official governmental working groups on addressing hate crimes to improve data collection, enhance information-sharing and develop a more coordinated and strategic national approach to addressing hate crimes. Aim to include all government agencies or departments dealing with any aspect of hate crimes, as well as civil society representatives’ (https://www.osce.org/odihr/datacollectionguide)
Standard 9: Greece protocol on inter-institutional cooperation developed as part of OSCE-ODIHR’s EU-Funded ‘Building a Comprehensive Criminal Justice Response to Hate Crime’ project includes obligations across public authorities and CSOs to record and share information about hate crimes (https://www.osce.org/odihr/402260?download=true)
Standard 10: Victims Directive, Article 1 Objectives (1) ‘The purpose of this Directive is to ensure that victims of crime receive appropriate information, support and protection and are able to participate in criminal proceedings. Member States shall ensure that victims are recognised and treated in a respectful, sensitive, tailored, professional and non-discriminatory manner, in all contacts with victim support or restorative justice services or a competent authority, operating within the context of criminal proceedings. The rights set out in this Directive shall apply to victims in a non-discriminatory manner, including with respect to their residence status.’. In order to identify and meet victims’ needs for information, support and protection, it is important create a system that can record these needs.
Standard 11: Victims Directive, Article 6 Right to receive information about their case, ‘Member States shall ensure that victims are notified without unnecessary delay of their right to receive…information about the criminal proceedings instituted as a result of the complaint with regard to a criminal offence suffered by the victim and that, upon request, they receive such information’. This information includes details about the progress and outcome of the criminal process, including the decision to end an investigation or not to prosecute an offender, court outcome, the charges, the location, etc. and when an offender has been released or whether s/he has escaped along with the nature of the resulting protection measures. This standard requires a point of connection and a system for information exchange between the victim and those responsible for aspects of the criminal justice process.
Standard 12: Victims Directive, Article 3 Right to understand and to be understood, ‘Member States shall take appropriate measures to assist victims to understand and to be understood from the first contact and during any further necessary interaction they have with a competent authority in the context of criminal proceedings, including where information is provided by that authority.’ This includes the right to accessible information and the right to be accompanied by a person of their choice in order to help access this right. This standard requires the competent authorities to identify, record and act on information about communication needs.
Standard 13: Victims Directive, Article 4: Right to receive information from the first contact with a competent authority, imposes the obligation on Member States to ensure that victims are offered a range of information, ‘without unnecessary delay, from their first contact with a competent authority in order to enable them to access the rights set out in this Directive’, including the type of available support, protection, legal advice, compensation and other information that enables them to access their rights. This obligation requires the competent authorities to implement a system of communication and information sharing with victims.
Standard 14: Victims Directive, Article 7: Right to interpretation and translation
Standard 15: OSCE Participating States have committed, “[to] promptly investigate hate crimes and ensure that the motives of those convicted of hate crimes are acknowledged” (OSCE MC Decision No. 9/09)
Standard 16: Victims Directive, Article 8: Right to access victim support services, Member States are obliged to, ‘ensure that victims, in accordance with their needs, have access to confidential victim support services, acting in the interests of the victims before, during and for an appropriate time after criminal proceedings.’ This includes facilitating the referral to specialist support services, free of charge, whether or not a victim makes a complaint in relation to an offence. Meeting this obligation requires that there is a system in place to connect with victims, assess, record and act on their needs.
Standard 17: OSCE Participating States have committed, “[to] take appropriate measures to encourage victims to report hate crimes” (OSCE Ministerial Commitment Decision No. 9/09); “[To] take appropriate measures to encourage victims to report hate crimes, recognizing that under-reporting of hate crimes prevents States from devising efficient policies. In this regard, explore, as complementary measures, methods for facilitating the contribution of civil society to combat hate crimes” (MC Decision No. 9/09)
Standard 18: Victims Directive, Article 10: Right to be heard. This obligation relates to the right to victims to be heard by the court.
Standard 19: Victims Directive, Article 11: Rights in the event of a decision not to prosecute. Member States shall ensure that victims, in accordance with their role in the relevant criminal justice system, have the right to a review of a decision not to prosecute.’ This obligation establishes an obligation for the relevant authority to connect and communicate with victims.
Standard 20: ECRI GPR No 4 (1998), “Recommends to the governments of member States to take steps to ensure that national surveys on the experience and perception of racism and discrimination from the point of view of potential victims are organised.”
Standard 21: Hate Crime Data-collection and monitoring mechanisms: A practical Guide, OSCE-ODIHR (2014), Recommendation 20: ‘Design and carry out victimization surveys that address the same bias motivations and types of crimes captured by official statistics, in order to provide for simple and meaningful comparisons of data and to assess the extent to which hate crimes may be under-reported, and why.’
Standard 22: Hate Crime Recording and Data collection Practice Across the EU, FRA Opinion 3, “To gain a better insight into hate crime victimisation in their states, national authorities should design and carry out crime victimisation surveys that include hate crime-specific questions. The findings of these surveys should be included in Member States’ hate crime reports that present the hate crime incidents recorded by the police.”
Standard 23: Hate Crime Data-collection and monitoring mechanisms: A practical Guide, OSCE-ODIHR (2014), Recommendation 24: Publish official data on hate crimes and data from victimization surveys together, to allow for comparisons between reported and unreported hate crimes.”
Standard 24: Hate Crime Training for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Authorities, 10 key guiding principles, High Level Group on combating racism and xenophobia and other forms of intolerance, ‘Principle two, Identifying Targets and Building Synergies, Develop a Model of Structured Cooperation with civil society, ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=43050’
Standard 25: Hate crime recording and data collection practice across the EU, EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2018), FRA Opinion 4, “EU Member States should set up frameworks of systematic cooperation between law enforcement agencies and relevant civil society organisations (CSOs). This can be done in the area of data and information exchange; by early consultation of relevant CSO, drawing on their experience; cooperating on the development of instructions, guidance or training on recording hate crime, including exchanging expertise to develop, refine and revise bias indicators; and by involving CSOs in working groups on how to improve the recording of hate crime.”,
Standard 26: In the case of Identoba and Georgia, the ECHR found that the Georgian police should have been aware of the specific threat facing LGBT+ communities based on the findings of CSO monitoring, including ILGA and local CSOs, which evidenced negative attitudes ‘in parts of Georgian society towards sexual minorities’. Specific evidence of serious violence against LGBT+ people captured by ILGA and local CSOs was cited by the court, which argued that based on this evidence, the Georgian police should have taken more effective action to prevent attacks against people taking place in a march to mark the International Day Against Homophobia in 2012. This provides an important rationale for systematic connection between law enforcement and monitoring CSOs on hate crime recording: such cooperation can effectively inform the police about risks facing minority communities so that preventative action can be taken (see also FRA, 2018, Unmasking bias motives in crimes: selected cases of the European Court of Human Rights,
Standard 27: OSCE MC Decision No. 4/13, specific norm relating to Roma and Sinti: “law enforcement agencies and personnel to identify, collect data, investigate and prosecute hate crimes against Roma and Sinti.”
Standard 28: Annex to OSCE MC Decision No. 12/04, specific Norm relating to antisemitic hate crime and racist and xenophobic hate crimes: “[To] collect and maintain reliable information and statistics about anti-Semitic crimes / hate crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia and related discrimination and intolerance
Standard 29: CSOs receiving reports from victims on hate crimes and incidents should be effectively trained to identify and record hate crime and to either directly provide support or to refer victims to the relevant support services. Facing Facts! Guidelines for Monitoring Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents, Chapter three, https://ceji.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Guidelines-for-monitoring-of-hate-crimes-and-hate-motivated-incidents-PROTECTED.pdf
Standard 30: OSCE MC Decision No. 13/06, OSCE-ODIHR is tasked to “continue to serve as a collection point for information and statistics on hate crimes and relevant legislation provided by participating States and to make this information publicly available through its Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System and its report on Challenges and Responses to Hate-Motivated Incidents in the OSCE Region”
Standard 31: Facing Facts! Hate Crime Monitoring Guidelines, Chapter 2., hate crime and hate incident recording systems should be based on clear crime categories that are comparable with police-recording systems. Recording methods should include evidence of indicators of bias, including the perception of the victim or any other person. Reporting platforms should be known and accessible to target communities. https://ceji.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Guidelines-for-monitoring-of-hate-crimes-and-hate-motivated-incidents-PROTECTED.pdf
Standard 32: OSCE MC Decision No. 9/09, OSCE Participating States have committed, ‘[T]o periodically report to the ODIHR reliable information and statistics on hate crimes’.
Standard 33: MC Decision No. 9/09, OSCE Participating States have agreed to, “nominate … a national point of contact on hate crimes to periodically report to the ODIHR reliable information and statistics on hate crimes”
Standard 34: Victims Directive, paragraph 64: “Systematic and adequate statistical data collection is recognised as an essential component of effective policymaking in the field of rights set out in this Directive. In order to facilitate evaluation of the application of this Directive, Member States should communicate to the Commission relevant statistical data related to the application of national procedures on victims of crime, including at least the number and type of the reported crimes and, as far as such data are known and are available, the number and age and gender of the victims. Relevant statistical data can include data recorded by the judicial authorities and by law enforcement agencies and, as far as possible, administrative data compiled by healthcare and social welfare services and by public and non-governmental victim support or restorative justice services and other organisations working with victims of crime. Judicial data can include information about reported crime, the number of cases that are investigated and persons prosecuted and sentenced. Service-based administrative data can include, as far as possible, data on how victims are using services provided by government agencies and public and private support organisations, such as the number of referrals by police to victim support services, the number of victims that request, receive or do not receive support or restorative justice.”
Standard 35: CERD, States must regularly report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in its progress in implementing iCERD. This can include data and information on hate crime (https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CERD/Pages/CERDIntro.aspx)
Standard 36: The Universal Periodic Review, under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, allows states to provide information on what actions they have taken to fulfil their human rights obligations, including on understanding and addressing racist violence. States are responsible for implementing UPR recommendations. (https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/uprmain.asp)
Standard 37: OSCE MC Decision No. 13/06, OSCE-ODIHR is tasked to “continue its close co-operation with other relevant inter-governmental agencies and civil society working in the field of promoting mutual respect and under-standing and combating intolerance and discrimination, including through hate crime data collection”
Standard 38: Victims Directive, Article 9: Support from victim support services. The Directive obliges, ‘Victim support services, as referred to in Article 8(1)’ to provide a minimum standard of services, including information and advice on their rights, information about or direct referral to specialist services.’ These obligations require qualifying CSOs to have a system to communicate with victims and assess and address their support, and protection needs.
Standard 39: Facing Facts! Guidelines for Monitoring Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents, Chapter three, Hate crime data gathered by CSOs should be regularly published, and aimed at relevant target groups including policy makers, affected communities and the general public. https://ceji.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Guidelines-for-monitoring-of-hate-crimes-and-hate-motivated-incidents-PROTECTED.pdf
Standard 40: Facing Facts! Guidelines for Monitoring Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents, Chapter seven, Hate Crime data gathered by CSOs should be used to advocate for improvements in national understandings and responses to hate crime, including through police/prosecutor training and/or influencing policy makers. https://ceji.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Guidelines-for-monitoring-of-hate-crimes-and-hate-motivated-incidents-PROTECTED.pdf
Standard 41: Victims Directive, paragraph 62, ‘Member States should encourage and work closely with civil society organisations, including recognised and active non-governmental organisations working with victims of crime, in particular in policymaking initiatives, information and awareness-raising campaigns, research and education programmes and in training, as well as in monitoring and evaluating the impact of measures to support and protect victims of crime. ‘ ‘Working closely’ entails setting up structures of cooperation, regular meetings and joint working, including data sharing with the aim of monitoring the success of policy implementation.
Standard 42: Victims Directive, paragraph 63, ‘Practitioners who are likely to receive complaints from victims with regard to criminal offences should be appropriately trained to facilitate reporting of crimes, and measures should be put in place to enable third-party reporting, including by civil society organisations. It should be possible to make use of communication technology, such as e-mail, video recordings or online electronic forms for making complaints.’
Glossary of terms
CERD – the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
CSO – civil society organisations
ECRI – European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance
EU – European Union
FRA – EU Fundamental Rights Agency
GPR – General Policy Recommendation
IGOs – Intergovernmental Organisations and international agencies
ODIHR- Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
OSCE – Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Facing All the Facts is co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020) of the European Union.