Hate crimes 2008- Reports to the police where the motivation for crime includes ethnic background, religious faith, sexual orientation or transgender identity or expression English summary of Brå report No. 2009:10


The definition of xenophobic/racist hate crimes has been expanded, as from 2008, to also include hate crimes between minorities and against the majority.In 2008, just over 4,200 hate crimes motivated by xenophobia/ racism were reported, which is just over 1,700 more reports than the previous year. It is Brå’s view that, of the increase compared with last year, around half can be explained by the change in definition. Unlawful threats/molestation is the most common xenophobic/racist hate crime (41 percent).The most common scene of xenophobic/racist hate crimes is at places of entertainment, which may be explained by unlawful discrimination being the most common type of crime.

In 2008, just over 760 reports were assessed to contain a primary offence with Afrophobic motive. Unlawful threats and molestation represent 37 per cent of all Afrophobic hate crimes reported, which makes this the most common crime category. Violent crime (25 per cent) and defamation (17 per cent) are the next most common types of crime. The smallest crime categories for this motive are unlawful discrimination (3 per cent) and other crimes (2 per cent). This year’s hate crime report provides a separate account of Afrophobic hate crime for the first time. Afro-Swedes encounter xenophobia/racism in Swedish society because of their ethnic background, skin colour and nationality.42 It can be expressed as graffiti on front doors saying “ape”, defamation by being called “nigger” or being exposed to assault in a market because of skin colour. Knowledge about the exposure of Afro-Swedes to hate crime and discrimination is relatively limited. Anybody can become exposed to an Afrophobic crime if the perpetrator concentrates on persons because they believe that they are part of a certain group.43 However, it is only those cases where expressions that insult Afro-Swedes can be separated from other xenophobic/racist hate crimes that are as- sessed to be Afrophobic hate crimes. If the victim him/herself describes that he/she has been subjected because of being an Afro-Swede or has a dark skin colour, the report is identified as an Afrophobic hate crime in the statistics.

In 2008, just under 180 reports were identified as having a primary offence with an anti-Roma motive. Unlawful threats and molestation represent 45 per cent of all anti-Roma hate crimes reported, which makes this the most common crimecategory. Violent crime (19 per cent) and defamation (13 per cent) are the next most common types of crime. Typical for this motive is that unlawful discrimina- tion as a type of crime occurs commonly (11 per cent). Other crimes (4 per cent) and criminal damage (3 per cent) are less common compared with other hate crime motives.

In 2008, the definition of what constitutes an antireligious hate crime was changed, through the addition of a new category: “other antireligious hate crime”. In 2008, just over 600 reports with an antireligious motive were identifi- ed, which is almost double compared with last year. The increase consists largely of hate crimes with antireligious motives, which is a new category which was added during the year, but anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crimes also showed increases. Of all reported antireligious hate crimes, 45 per cent were assessed to be Islamophobic, 28 per cent other antireligious hate crimes and 26 per cent anti-Semitic. Agitation against ethnic groups is more common in anti-Semitic hate crim- es, and criminal damage/graffiti is more common in other antireligious ha- te crimes compared with other hate crimes. In total, 75 per cent of the anti-Semitic hate crimes were cleared up, 8 per cent personally cleared up and the remainder technically cleared up.

The definition of hate crimes because of sexual orientation has changed from that defined in 2007, by including the motives biphobia and hetero- phobia.In 2008, 1,055 hate crimes because of sexual orientation were identified. Of these, 1,046 had a homophobic motive. Compared to 2007, hate crimes because of sexual orientation have increased by just over 330 crimes or 46 percent.

For the first time, statistics for hate crimes aimed against transgender persons are reported for this year. “Transgender persons” is an umbrella concept for persons with transgender identity (the gender people feel they are) or gender expression. Hate crimes against transgender persons are not included under hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, as a transgender person can be homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.In 2008, 14 reports were identified as having a transphobic motive as their primary offence.The most common transphobic hate crimes are molestation/unlawful threats (9 reports) followed by assault (4 reports). In the majority of the reports, the perpetrator was unknown to the victim. The most common locations for being subjected to transphobic hate crimes are public places and other places and in the victim’s own home.

Source: The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå)