Some 448 hate crimes were reported in 2018, and 446 in 2017, but the police fear these numbers do not match a reality that could be much worse.
“The number of hate crimes is, of course, worrying, and it indicates there are more hate crimes out there than those we know,” Tenna Wilbert, a police inspector at the National Police’s National Prevention Center, said on the campaign’s video.
To feel safe and protected
A new campaign has been launched to remind people that hate crimes are illegal and how important is it to report them.
The police believe that people often refrain from reporting because they have doubts about whether what they experienced is illegal.
The campaign tries to clarify that the law considers a hate crime when someone uses violence, vandalism, threats or utterances based on the person’s beliefs, ethnicity, skin colour, sexuality or gender identity.
“You have to be able to feel safe and protected in the spaces in which you move – whether at home, in the public space or in social contexts,” Tenna Wilbert said.
Wilbert contends that the more reports the police get, the better picture they can draw from the crimes committed in the area, thus making the investigation more effective.
Not taken seriously
However, for others, like Halima El Abassi from the Council of Ethnic Minorities, the reasons people do not report are different. The biggest obstacle is the perception that the claims are not taken seriously enough.
“I know of several examples when people have tried to talk to the police, and they have not really been taken very seriously because it is difficult to prove anything” she told DR.
Other reason might be the victims’ self-blaming.
“Many people think it’s because they wear a scarf and look the way they do. They take responsibility for the crime and turn it inwards instead of saying: ‘This is not okay. It should be reported’,” Halima El Abassi said.
Halima El Abassi herself said she had been the victim of a hate crime. She was 12 when she was stopped by a man, who lifted her scarf, pushed her and spat on her.
At the time, she did not report it because her family did not know those acts were illegal.