Fourth local network meeting in Austria

The fourth local network meeting in Austria, organised within the framework of the V-START – Victim Support Through Awareness Raising and networking project, took place on November 9th 2018 at the office of ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (civil courage and anti-racism-work). 13 representatives of 9 different associations took further steps to strengthen an effective, trans-sectorial network, with the aim to form a strong lobby for those affected by hate crime and to make sure that the phenomenon itself does not remain overshadowed. The group of participants consisted of NGO representatives, working in the fields of LGBTIQ rights, antidiscrimination, victim support, victim protection, counselling, human rights and education.

During this past meeting, participants shared and portrayed anonymous hate crime incidents and cases that crossed their paths, in order to make the phenomenon more tangible and to understand the extent of incidents, which occur. Participants consequently had the possibility to discuss specific approaches, concepts of how to improve support mechanisms for those affected and challenges those affected as well as those providing support and counselling are confronted with.

During the November meeting, a specific focus was placed on on the issues of documentation and (under-)reporting. Common hindrances were discussed, obstacles for those affected were identified and measures that could improve the issue of “underreporting” were gathered. Furthermore, participants asked themselves, how representatives of civil society organisations could effectively reach a broader variety of stakeholders and how the ability of recognising hate crime could be imparted upon important actors, that lack sensitivity and knowledge on the subject.

Last but not least the participants were provided with thorough input about the overlapping of hate speech and hate crime in the Austrian legal context. Consequently the rise and visibility of online hate speech and its connection to to analogue world and particularly to analogue bias-motivated violence and crime against certain groups or persons, affiliated to a group, was discussed.