Too little is known about the extent of hate crimes in Denmark according to the social affairs minister, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), who has called for a new study to be carried out to examine the issue.
According to the latest figures from the domestic intelligence agency PET, in 2011 there were 195 reported crimes that were definitely motivated by hate for the victim’s religion, race, political stance or sexuality.
“Hate crimes are an expression of extreme intolerance,” Hækkerup stated in a press release. “They pose not only a threat to the safety of individuals but are also an attack on democracy, which is built upon ensuring freedom and equality for all residents.”
She added that efforts to tackle hate crimes are hindered by the fact that there is currently too little data covering the scope of the issue.
“What is the actual scope [of hate crimes]? Who are the victims and why do so few report the crimes? Who are the perpetrators and what are their motivations? These are some of the questions I want answered,” Hækkerup stated.
Statistics about hate crimes vary widely. Police crime statistics contain far fewer reports of hate crimes than expected based upon surveys of the victims of crime that are carried out by the Justice Ministry and human rights organisations.
A 2011 report on hate crimes written by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (IMR) concluded that “Denmark does not offer effective legal protection from hate crimes."
They recommend that the police and PET become better at noting in their reports when a crime could be motivated by hate. Their research also suggests that victims don’t report crimes because they don’t feel like the police take the problem seriously.
Some 75 percent of hate crimes reported in 2011 were motivated either by race or politics (35 and 40 percent respectively) while the remainder were motivated by the victim's sexuality or religion.
The Social and Immigration Ministry have put the study out to tender and should find an organisation to take on the task before the summer.