Fourth local network meeting in Croatia
In order to improve knowledge and support for victims, to strengthen the role of CSOs and public victim support service and to create an efficient link among main stakeholders, a meeting was held in Split County Court on 29th November 2018. The meeting was attended by 5 participants representatives of non-governmental organizations providing victim support as well as representatives of institutional victim support.
Discussion first took place on the findings of the research conducted through the interview with private and public victim support service. The main issues related to hate crime and its lack of recognition by the competent public authorities have been explained, and consequently lack of adequate support and assistance to hate crime victims.
The following steps were discussed:
● the police do not recognize that it is a hate crime and consequently does not process hate crime as a criminal offense but as a violation of public order and peace
● victims of hate crime are recognized by the law as a particularly vulnerable category of victims who have certain additional rights (such as a special way of interrogation to avoid contact of the victim and perpetrator). If the hate crime is not recognized, there is no recognition of the specific needs of such victims either.
● police, state attorney’s office and other relevant criminal prosecution actors are not sufficiently sensitive to the needs of victims of hate crime, which potentially leads to a situation where victims are confronted with various prejudices
● even the same victims of hate crime such an incident often do not report. The main causes for this are lack of knowledge of the concept of hate crime, the fear of further victimization, lack of trust in the judicial system, fear of retaliation and shame.