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Hate crime

It is estimated that there were slightly fewer than 6,270 hate crime reports in 2014, which is the highest level noted to date, and 14 per cent more than 2013. Brå's annual hate crime statistics show that xenophobic/racist grounds are far and away the most common grounds for hate crimes, followed by hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

Reported hate crime

Estimated number of of police reports with an identified hate crime motive, 2009–2014. Source: Hate Crime

By hate crime is meant that a person is victimised because of their real or perceived ethnic background, race, skin colour or nationality, religious belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity or expression. The victim need not have the characteristic in question; it is sufficient that the perpetrator believes or perceives that the victim has such a characteristic or believes that they represent a group of people with such characteristics, for example those with a particular ethnic origin or religion. Although there is a difference of opinion as to what should be included in the term "hate crime", there is international unanimity that the incident is a result of insufficient respect for human rights and the equal worth of all people.

Since hate crimes are not a specific category of offence but rather only an aspect of the reasons behind an offence, it is difficult to form a picture of the scope of hate crimes. There is no specific offence classification code to register a hate crime when making a police report. The hate crime statistic is, instead, compiled from police reports which Brå, following a separate review, has deemed to contain possible hate crime grounds, as well as from self-reported exposure to hate crimes.

Since 2006, information from the Swedish Crime Survey (Nationella trygghetsundersökningen) (NTU) is included annually. Brå also asks questions regarding exposure to hate crimes in the Swedish school survey on crime (SUB) and the Politicians' Safety Survey (PTU), but these surveys are not conducted every year. The most recent results from these two surveys are reproduced in Hate Crimes 2013.

What grounds are reported in the statistic of police reports with hate crime grounds?

Some countries do not maintain any hate crime statistics while other countries report statistics regarding one or more hate crime grounds. In Sweden, hate crimes on the following grounds are reported:

  • Xenophobia/racism
  • Afrophobia
  • Anti-Roma
  • Islamophobia
  • Anti-Semitism
  • Christianophobia
  • Other anti-religious
  • Homophobia
  • Biphobia
  • Heterophobia
  • Transphobia

How many people are victims of hate crime?

According to data from the 2014 Swedish Crime Survey (Nationella trygghetsundersökningen) (NTU) 2014, approximately 136,000 persons (1.8%) of the Swedish population (16 – 79 years of age) were exposed to 262,000 xenophobic hate crimes in 2013. An estimated 35,000 persons (0.5%) were exposed to 67,000 anti-religious hate crimes, and an estimated 25,000 persons (0.3%) were exposed to 42,000 homophobic hate crimes. Compared with previous years, the level can be said to be relatively even in respect of exposure to hate crimes. It should be noted that there were few persons who responded to the hate crime questions in the NTU, which creates major uncertainty in the estimates.

Xenophobic/racist hate crimes most common

The statistic regarding police reports with identified hate crime grounds in 2014 shows that, as in previous years, hate crimes on xenophobic/racist grounds were most common. Almost 4,310 reports are estimated to have been identified on these grounds (of which slightly fewer than 1,080 were Afrophobic and almost 640 were anti-Roma). Thereafter, an estimated almost 640 reports on the grounds of sexual orientation, slightly more than 490 on the grounds of Islamophobia, slightly fewer than 270 on the grounds of anti-Semitism, slightly more than 330 on the grounds of Christianophobia, and slightly fewer than 160 on other anti-religious grounds, were identified. Reports of hate crimes on the grounds of transphobia were less common among the identified hate crime reports, specifically, slightly fewer than 70 reports.

Unlawful threat/(non-sexual) molestation were the most common types of offence

When looking at all grounds, unlawful threat/(non-sexual) molestation are the most common types of offence, followed by violent offences and defamation. However, some types of offence are more characteristic for certain grounds. Agitation against a population group is more common for anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crimes. The number of violent offences is greater for Afrophobic hate crimes, while illegal discrimination is more common for anti-Roma hate crimes. The most common types of offence for hate crimes based on Christianophobia are graffiti and vandalism.

The perpetrator is often unknown to the victim

In 58 per cent of the identified hate crime reports, the perpetrator was unknown to the victim. In 33 per cent of the cases, the perpetrator was a superficial acquaintance of the victim (for example, a neighbour, colleague, or schoolmate), and in 6 per cent of the reports, the perpetrator was a closely-related person.

Hate crimes can be committed anywhere

Hate crimes take place at different places where people go in everyday life. The most common crime scenes in the identified hate crime reports from 2014 were public places, for example streets, squares, and parks. Hate crimes are also common in or adjacent to the victim's own home, at workplaces, and on the Internet.

More than half of the hate crime matters are investigated, but few have person-based clearances

Beginning with the statistic for 2014, processed hate crime matters are reported instead of cleared hate crimes, as was previously the case. For more information regarding the terminology, see Hate Crimes 2014.

Of all hate crime matters reported in 2013 and processed up to and including 31 May 2015, 5 per cent had person-based clearances, which means that one person could be tied to the offence through a prosecutorial decision, summary sanction order, or waiver of prosecution. Person-based clearances were lowest for Islamophobic hate crimes (1%) and highest for Afrophobic hate crimes (8%). Part of the difference in person-based clearances can likely be explained by differences in respect of the offences which occur, since certain offences are more difficult to investigate than others.

Almost half (49%) of the reports from 2013 were closed after investigation had been commenced, while slightly more than one-third (36%) of the reports were dismissed with no investigation, meaning that the matter was closed with no investigation being commenced.

Under certain circumstances, the police and public prosecutor are authorised to take decisions regarding so-called limitations of investigation, which means that the police and public prosecutor may close matters in respect of less serious offences and instead focus on the more serious offences in order to attain a more efficient criminal justice process. This took place in respect of 9 per cent of the reports. On 31 May 2015, 1 per cent of the matters were still under investigation.

Facts

  • Almost 6,270 (estimated) reported offences from 2014 were identified with a hate crime reason
  • 69 per cent (almost 4,310 reports) had xenophobic/racist grounds (of which almost 1,080 were Afrophobic and almost 290 were anti-Roma)
  • 10 per cent (almost 640 reports) had grounds related to sexual orientation
  • 8 per cent (slightly more than 490 reports) had Islamophobic grounds
  • 8 per cent (almost than 490 reports) had Christianophobic or other anti-religious grounds
  • 4 per cent (almost 270 reports) had anti-Semitic grounds
  • 1 per cent (slightly more than 70 reports) had transphobic grounds
  • Of all hate crime matters which were reported in 2013, and which were processed up to and including May 2015, 5 per cent had person-based clearances
  • 1.8 per cent of the population (16 – 79 years of age) in Sweden (an estimated 136,000 persons) were exposed to 262 xenophobic hate crimes during 2013 (NTU 2014)
  • 0.5 per cent of the population (16 – 79 years of age) in Sweden (an estimated 35,000 persons) were exposed to 67,000 anti-religious hate crimes during 2013 (NTU 2014)
  • 0.3 per cent of the population (16 – 79 years of age) in Sweden (an estimated 25,000 persons) were exposed to 42,000 homophobic hate crimes during 2013 (NTU 2014)

Unless another source is stated, the statistics are obtained from the 2014 hate crime statistic.

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