Hate crimes have become a global concern, posing significant social, political, and legal challenges. The act of violent behavior motivated by bias against a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability is considered a severe expression of discrimination.
The COUNTER HATE project, aimed at improving the assistance of victims of hate crimes through a victim-centered and intersectional approach, has completed its research in 6 European countries – Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, and Lithuania – aiming to map and evaluate national legislation and policies regarding hate crimes. The results of the research also provide valuable insights into the experiences of victims and key professionals, as well as the viewpoints of civil organisations.
The research included a mapping of the national legal and political frameworks regarding hate crimes, as well as assistance to victims. Additionally, qualitative and quantitative research was conducted, including in-depth interviews and a survey, to analyse the experiences and opinions of victims and key professionals.
How hate crimes impact communities in Greece
The Greek research found that hate crimes have far-reaching implications that extend beyond individual victims and impact the community and society as a whole. While there is a cohesive legal framework at the national and European level criminalising hate crimes, there are significant weaknesses in the reporting mechanism, such as delays, language difficulties, and bureaucracy, that contribute to severe underreporting. The judicial system in Greece also has important shortcomings regarding hate crimes, with a time-consuming judicial process and a lack of knowledge among judges.
While various NGOs offer support services to victims of vulnerable groups, there are no NGOs specialising in the protection of hate crime victims. Additionally, the existing NGOs are underfunded and unable to meet the whole range of victims’ needs. Overall, there is a general dissatisfaction with the current government’s commitment to combating hate crimes due to a lack of adequate information and awareness campaigns.
The research is available HERE.
The COUNTER HATE project’s overall aim is to contribute to the assistance of victims of hate crimes by ensuring that legislation and policies in Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, and Lithuania are in line with the basic principles of victim-centered and intersectional approaches, ensuring a holistic support provided to those who have experienced these manifestations of discrimination and hate.