Tag Archives: racism

ODIHR Hate Crime data release 16 November 2017

Thursday 16 November marks International Day of Tolerance, and the release of ODIHR data on hate crimes across Europe.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) collects information from OSCE participating States, civil society and inter-governmental organizations about hate crime annually.

Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice towards particular groups of people. To be considered a hate crime, the offence must meet two criteria. The first is that the act constitutes an offence under criminal law. Secondly, the act must have been motivated by bias.

Information in the ODIHR report is categorised by the bias motivations OSCE/ODIHR has been mandated to report on by participating States.

Ireland should regularly submit hate crime data to ODIHR, and has done so in the past, but failed to submit any data for 2015. Hate crime data are collected by the Central Statistics Office and An Garda Síochána , but are not made publicly available. Although Ireland has no explicit hate crime laws, the state collects information about crimes with bias indicators under its international obligations.

In 2015, the state did not submit any information on hate crimes (per the ODIHR definition) recorded by police. In previous years, the Irish government had reported small numbers of hate crimes overall – 53 in 2014, down from 109 in 2013, 118 in 2012 and 162 in 2011. These figures relate to all hate crimes and include racism and xenophobia, anti-Semitism, bias against Roma & Sinti, bias against Muslims, and bias against other groups on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Of the 53 hate crimes reported by the state in 2014, 43 were racist or xenophobic and 2 were anti-Semitic. There is no breakdown by type of crime,

Additionally, ENAR Ireland reported 34 physical assaults, including five that were committed by groups and six causing serious injuries; 58 incidents of threats; two arson attacks; 17 incidents of damage to property; and 11 incidents of graffiti.

Civil society groups are invited by ODIHR to submit reports of hate crimes for review and publication alongside data from the state. ENAR Ireland does so using data from the iReport.ie independent racist incident reporting system, verified by Ulster University. Other civil society groups may also add reports they have received.

The data for 2016 will be released tomorrow Thursday 16 November at hatecrime.osce.org – here is a quick summary of the ENAR Ireland submission I compiled for 2016.


2016 Ireland – data from iReport.ie

  • Physical assaults – 27, of which 3 were against Muslims, 1 against Roma, and 1 anti-Semitic
  • Attempted assault – 1
  • Threats – 41
  • Criminal damage – 7

I’m very happy to answer questions on this data – please contact me at L.Michael@ulster.ac.uk




The Portland murders and the threat to bystander intervention 

When the Portland murders hit the news this week, they were rightly shared as an example of brave defence of the rights and dignity of our fellow humans.  Too often we walk by when we are offered the chance to act on the principles we claim because those targeted are strangers, not like us, because we are busy, or scared, or unsure. 

Over the last few months I’ve been examining bystander intervention in the data we collect from http://www.ireport.ie, a civil society racist incident reporting system. We see again and again examples of people intervening when they witness racism. There are multiple ways in which people offer help, talking to perpetrators, mobilising other witnesses to help, reporting incidents to police or relevant persons of authority, and reassuring those targeted.  In these cases, there are examples of positive outcomes. These include perpetrator apologies, compensation for the discrimination, firmed resolve against racism in organisations and neighbourhoods, and police and other authorities held to account for the outcomes. 

The data also includes cases where the outcome was not so positive. These fall into two categories: (1) where offers of help have resulted in negative outcomes for an intervening witness, and (2) where no help was offered at all. In the first category, there are some cases of violence against bystanders who offer help and confront the perpetrator. But it is worth saying that the data shows that these are the minority of cases, and in these cases, the person confronting the perpetrator did so knowing the risk of violence, because the incident was already violent. Those people are truly brave, knowing and taking risks to their own safety to help another experiencing violence. But across all cases of violence, injuries to bystanders are few, and most cases demonstrate that perpetrators do not feel so sure about assaulting someone from their own ethnic group or who appears not to be part of the out-group. 

Far more cases fall in to the category of ‘no help offered’. Bystanders who walk by, witnesses who say nothing, sometimes paralysed by uncertainty, shopkeepers who throw out people seeking shelter from street harassment, people in authority who turn away and deny witnessing racism – all of these appear in accounts submitted to iReport.ie. in these cases, the impact on targeted people is evident. They report feelings of isolation which result in depression and suicide attempts, fear of using public places, anxiety in everyday activities at school, work, shopping and in leisure spaces. The impact of the event, which can be minimised by individualising the perpetrator and his/her actions, is worsened significantly by the sense that the perpetrators beliefs and disposition is shared by others in the immediate environment. Cases where the targeted person reports that no one offered help are significantly more da,aging than others. In other words, it is not just racism that hurts. It’s the idea that the attitudes and behaviours might be shared and repeated by others at any time in the same context. It’s the sense that feelings of safety and inclusion are false, since friends, colleagues and neighbours cannot be trusted to stand up to racism. These are the things that truly hurt. 

There are multiple reasons why people do not intervene when they see racism. People often overestimate risk, afraid of violence. But more often we fear the disapproval of our peers, of other witnesses, even when they too are strangers. 

What we really need to emphasise is the immense positive impact of offered help, even if this is only reassurance after the event. 

Why is intervention so important? 

1. Reduction of severity and length of incidents 

2. Expression of disapproval to the perpetrator and other witnesses 

3. Reinforcement of social norms which disavow racist behaviour 

4. Express inclusion of the targeted person(s) in the group, organisation, place, society. 

5. Reduced psychological impact of the event on the targeted person(s) 

6. Reduced impact on members of the targeted group who hear about the incident later 

7. Demonstrating to other witnesses that immediate responses are possible 

8. Deterrence of future actions by perpetrator(s)

If Portland teaches us anything, it should not be that intervention can involve risks. We already know that, and it holds us back. What it must teach us is that intervention is crucial to express our disapproval, and that it matters in the current environment to resist the further emboldening of perpetrators of racism. It matters in reducing the real impact of racism on those targeted. And it matters in reminding us all that our principles mean nothing if we do not act, within our capabilities, to defend them.

#portland #endhate #stopracism #hopenothate