Transnational report: The crucial role of intersectional and victim-centred approaches to confronting bias-motivated violence.
Hate crimes are a growing phenomenon in our plural societies. Despite the fact that European countries are evolving towards greater integration of minority groups, they are still affected by criminal behaviour based on prejudice. Migrants, people with disabilities, members of religious minorities, LGBTQIA+ community, Roma people are currently some of the collectives at risk of being identified as targets of hate crimes. Underreporting accompanies this phenomenon, as well as the lack of identification of the hate motives underlying these crimes. In addition, victims of hate crimes often feel alone and subjected to institutional discrimination that discourages them from claiming their rights before public authorities.
Discriminatory violence severely affects the social and personal sphere of victims, and is often intensified by the intersectionality that accompanies many of these people. Thus, overlapping vulnerability factors result in further victimisation and added difficulties in coping with discrimination. Given this situation, a review of legislative measures and victim support policies is needed, taking into account the particular vulnerability of hate crime victims, in order to put the affected persons and their needs at the centre of the jurisdictional and assistance policies of each country. As an added value, an intersectional approach to victims is also crucial to adequately understand their needs and its effective satisfaction.
The following pages present the results of the comparative analysis of the national reports developed in the framework of the project “COUNTER.HATE: Improving the assistance of victims of hate crimes through a victim-centred and intersectional approach”, which covers the current state of play in the six participating countries: Spain, Slovenia, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Lithuania. The national reports which constitute the basis of this comparative transnational report were developed after a deep research carried out during the first 8 months of the project. Following the phase of desk research, qualitative and quantitative data-collection (through in-depth interviews and an online survey) was conducted in all participating countries to analyse the experiences and opinions of victims and key professionals. This target group of professionals included public security and justice practitioners (prosecutors, lawyers, judges, law enforcement authorities), anti-discrimination professionals (anti-discrimination public bodies and NGOs, human rights organisations), and professionals working on victims’ assistance.
In the first chapter, the report contains the common normative context regarding discrimination, assistance of victims and major aspects related to the categorisation of hate crimes. Findings on the most vulnerable groups, profile of victims and the dominant social prejudices in the current European context can be found in the second chapter.
In the third chapter, the report focuses on the common challenges related to victim assistance. It summarises the predominant needs of victims according to the research carried out, and reflects the current state of victim’s support service structure, provided by both the public and private sectors. Finally, the fourth chapter analyses the progress and current disadvantages of criminal proceedings from a victim-centred approach2 . The report concludes with a series of final considerations that aim, without being exhaustive, to show a picture of possible future lines of improvement and action.