Hate crimes are criminal violations were the victim is defined by their:
Ethnicity, skin colour, race or nationality,
Sexual orientation, transgender expression and identity, or similar circumstances.
It does not matter if the victim belongs to the group or not, it is the perpetrator's motive that determines whether it is a hate crime or not.
If you have been the victim of a hate crime, it means that the perpetrator may receive a harsher punishment. For example, the perpe-trator might be convicted of harassment, but will receive a more severe punishment if it can be proven that their reason for the crime was to offend you based on the characteristics mentioned above.
Harassment and threats are common hate crimes
Hate crimes are a collective term for many different crimes, it can be anything from harassment to murder. Common types of hate crimes are unlawful threats, harassment, vandalism and graffiti, violent crimes, incitement against ethnic groups and unlawful discrimination. An increasing number of crimes that are reported take place online.
However, there is a common misconception that hate crimes are only committed by people who do not know the victim. Instead, many hate crimes are committed by perpetrators who are close to the victim. For example, it could be a work place who discriminate a religious employee, neighbours who harass the immigrant family in the area, or relatives who threaten a homosexual family member.
Hate crimes are detrimental to our society, and irreconcilable with the fundamental value of all human beings and to human rights. Hate crimes concern us all.
Have you been a victim of crime? You have the right to get help!
It can be quite upsetting to be the victim of a hate crime. The experience of being hurt by someone because of your identity — who you are — often leaves deep wounds. So it could be a good thing to talk with someone who has experience of dealing with people who have been victims of crime. Call Victim Support Sweden (Brottsofferjouren) at 116 006 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to receive help. We offer practical advice as well as emotional support. We can offer you assistance in up to 20 different languages. You do not need have made a police report or be sure that you have actually been exposed to a crime to contact Victim Support.
To report a crime you need to contact the police. A police report is necessary for the crime to be investigated and for the perpetrator to receive their punishment. It is important that you tell the police that you think you have been the victim of a hate crime. Read more here about how to make a police report, or call the police directly on 114 14. If you have witnessed a hate crime, you can tell the police about the criminal activity. It is possible to be anonymous when doing so. If more people let the police know about criminal activity, crime can be reduced in society.
Vulnerability becomes a part of daily life
Many people who have been victim of hate crimes have been exposed to discrimination and crime throughout their lives. It is normal for a victim to believe that there is nothing to do but to accept the situation. It is common after a non-violent offence or crime, that both victims and witnesses find it hard to comprehend that they have been exposed to a criminal act. Victims and witnesses come up with explanations or diminish what happened to them. Victims start to doubt themselves and think they are overly sensitive.
How are you feeling?
If you have been a victim of crime and feel afraid to tell someone, you are not alone, this is a normal reaction. Many people are wor-ried that the situation will worsen or that others will think that they are overreacting. At Victim Support, you can get help and speak to someone who will listen. Everyone reacts differently to violations, abuse and violence. In addition to fear, victims usually feel helpless, insecure, frustrated and confused. Physical reactions such as stomach pain, headache and difficulty sleeping are also normal. Many people try to forget what happened. Reactions to abuse can appear a long time after it happened. It is difficult to process these feelings by yourself. It is important to talk about your experiences with someone. It helps.
We offer help
Victim Support Sweden is an organization which helps victims of crime. By contacting us you get someone to talk to in confidentiality, help with contacting the police or other authorities, and we can provide information on how to apply for victim compensation. We also provide information about the legal process. We help crime victims, witnesses, and other affected by crime. Our help is always free of charge.
What the police does
The police have trained investigators working with solving hate crimes. Hate crimes are considered a serious offence. Therefore, a prosecutor is involved as soon as there is a reasonable suspect in the investigation. The prosecutor then decides how the investigation should be conducted, or if it should be terminated.
Special crime victim security units from the police make risk assessments when someone has been the victim of a violent crime or threat. If there is reason for concern, the police will get involved. To receive some sort of police protection, a police report is required.
Swevic – a collaborative project with the Police
Together with the Police Authority, Victim Support Sweden has been running the collaborative project Swevic since 1 January 2019, which is our joint initiative against hate crime. We want to spread knowledge about what hate crimes are and offer suitable support to hate crime victims. The project is funded by EU funds and will run until 31 December 2020.