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March 16, 2008

2008 Hate Crime Survey: Systems Of Monitoring And Reporting

Executive Summary

An effective government response to violent hate crimes is difficult, if not impossible, without a clear picture of the extent of the problem, the types of offenses being committed, and the characteristics of the victims. Without adequate monitoring, it is impossible to identify emerging trends or hate crime hotspots, develop strategies for prevention and protection, and determine which groups are most susceptible to violent hate crimes. Without public reporting on the criminal justice response to hate crimes, it is difficult to ensure that adequate legal tools and resources are in place to investigate and prosecute such crimes and to reassure the public that efforts are being made to provide protection from violent forms of discrimination. OSCE states have committed to “collect and maintain reliable data and statistics on hate crimes and incidents.” Efforts to introduce or enhance already existing monitoring systems are especially important in light of the increasing availability of crime victimization surveys, NGO monitoring, and media reports that suggest that hate crimes are occurring at a significant rate throughout the OSCE region and are seriously underreported to and underrecorded by the authorities. Within the European Union, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), the E.U.’s antiracism and human rights body, has determined that only 11 of the 27 member states have criminal justice data collection systems that can be considered “good” or “comprehensive” in their coverage of hate crimes. Outside of the E.U., only Canada and the United States have well-developed reporting systems. Thus, only 13 of the 56 participating states of the OSCE are fulfilling their basic commitments to monitor hate crimes: Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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