Report recommends 12 ways of combatting LGBTQ+ hate crimes in Europe

A report from the Steering Committee (ADADI) in the Council of Europe recommends ways to address and combat hate crime toward the queer community..

EU and LGBTQ+ blended flag draped around a person's shoulders.

The Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI) at the Council of Europe (COE) released a report recommending 12 ways to combat LGBTQ+ hate crimes in Europe.

The report, released in Strasbourg on October 4, 2023, discusses several measures EU member states can take to “combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The 12 recommendations are as follows:

Redefining terms in future legislation and policies

The first recommendation is to ensure legislation and policies “provide a standard and accepted definition of hate crime” – with inclusion of the terms “sexual orientation”, “gender expression”, and “sex characteristics” in the hate crime legislation.

The recommendation calls for the recognition of LGBTQ+ hate crimes to be “at par with other relevant protected characteristics” like race, religion, gender or disability.

It also recommended that intersecting hate crime victimisation is considered in the legislation and policies.

Framing hate crime legislation with precise and strong criminal law provisions

The second recommendation is in relation to framing hate crime legislation and advises that the “criminal law provisions opted for are sufficiently precise and operational for the criminal justice system to prosecute and sentence” LGBTQ+ hate crimes.

The recommendation also advises that the criminal law provisions opted for send a “strong signal to society” that queer hate crimes “are punishable.”

Setting up an inclusive organisation to monitor LGBTQ+ hate crimes

The third recommendation suggests that there is an inclusive organisation set up for “co-ordinating the fight” against LGBTQ+ hate crimes and “developing or reviewing related national strategies.”

The report also states that the queer community should be able to “genuinely participate and contribute,” – to be able to support the police, prosecution services, Equality Bodies, and National Human Rights Institutions to prevent and combat hate crimes.

The specifics of LGBTQ+ hate crime data

The fourth recommendation calls for data related to hate crimes being specifically stated as LGBTQ+ related and also for the information regarding such hate crimes to be made publicly available.

The report calls for a “comprehensive, consistent, and integrated approach” to the collection of data on LGBTQ+ hate crimes to “be in place across the criminal justice system.”

Supporting research on LGBTQ+ hate crimes

The fifth looks at research on LGBTQ+ hate crimes and calls for an allocation of “attention and resources, including financial support, towards research” on them.

It suggests this to be done in a way that “allows the gap between reported and actual numbers of cases to be measured and to track developments over time.”

Support services being sensitive towards LGBTQ+ hate crime victims

Recommendation six advises that necessary measures should be taken to “ensure that support services for victims of hate crimes are sensitive to the specific needs” of LGBTQ+ people.

Access to support “nationwide” and ensuring “specialised and targeted support services are made available” to LGBTQ+ hate crime victims are both also mentioned.

Supporting organisations that work with LGBTQ+ hate crime victims

The seventh recommendation in the report calls for support towards organisations working with victims of LGBTQ+ hate crimes.

Support such as receiving “sufficient financial support to carry out their tasks” – which include awareness-raising, monitoring, data collection and offering targeted support to victims.

Encouraging the reporting of LGBTQ+ hate crimes

The eighth calls for necessary measures to be implemented to “encourage reporting of hate crimes” on LGBTQ+ people.

Alternative options such as online or anonymous reporting is mentioned and also “taking measures to build trust in the police and prosecution, notably though educational and monitoring measures.”

Lastly, the recommendation states that cases of anti-LGBTQ+ behaviour by “state officials or institutions should be of particular concern and subject to effective independent investigation and sanctions.”

Protecting the welfare of LGBTQ+ detainees

Recommendation nine in the report calls for “policy measures to address the specific needs” of LGBTQ+ detainees.

Adopting “correct guidance,” carrying out “proper risk assessments” and “paying due attention to the person’s self-determined gender identity” are all mentioned in the recommendation.

Reviewing effectiveness of measures aimed at combating LGBTQ+ hate crimes

Recommendation 10 calls for the effectiveness of policies and measures aimed at combating hate crimes to be monitored and evaluated regularly and as necessary.

The report states that this “should involve on-going consultation” with LGBTQ+ organisations and “other relevant stakeholders.”

Increasing awareness within the legal justice sector

In order to “facilitate the implementation of the preceding recommendations,” the eleventh recommendation suggests that policies are developed that “raise awareness amongst the police and the staff of the criminal justice and penitentiary sector as well as victim support services” about concerns specific to LGBTQ+ people.

A further stress is put on raising awareness about those “who face intersectional and multiple discrimination – with a focus on unmasking” the LGBTQ+ element of hate crimes.

Implementing continuous training programmes in the developed policies is suggested.

Addressing the root causes of LGBTQ+ hate crimes

The last recommendation of the Steering Committee’s report calls for the conduct of research and taking “targeted policy measures” to “address the root causes of hate crimes” towards queer people.

Root causes such as prejudice, stigmatisation and discrimination are mentioned as examples.

The report mentions raising awareness within the general public about the impact of LGBTQ+ hate crimes and stresses the “importance of preventing and combatting them as guidelines within this recommendation.”

Preventative measures are mentioned like “promoting diversity and inclusion in all areas of society, including education, employment, and healthcare, and conducting public education campaigns, social media, and community outreach programmes.”

In addition to the report, the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee released a document including some ‘promising practices’ which showcases the “wealth of information and practices” that were compiled by their experts.

According to the Council of Europe website, the Steering Committee was set up by the Council of Ministers in 2019 to promote equality for all and build more inclusive societies that offer effective protection from discrimination and hate and where diversity is respected.”

CDADI taking on this report “signifies an important commitment to combatting LGBTQ+ hate crimes in Europe and highlights the crucial importance of protecting the rights and dignity” of LGBTQ+ individuals.

To read the Steering Committee’s full report of their recommendations to combat hate crimes against queer people in Europe, click here.

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