Hate crime

A hate crime is a crime, which targets a person because the victim of crime is part of a national, religious, ethnic, sexual or other such group. The motive of a hate crime is the offender’s prejudice or anger towards a public group. According to Chapter 6 Section 5 of the Criminal Code of Finland, the punishment can be increased when the motive of a crime is hatred towards a public group.

The committed crime is often assault, defamation or damage of property. The punishment can be increased when the act has been influenced by the victim’s race, skin colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It is considered a hate crime, even if the offender has only assumed that the victim belongs to such a group. Discrimination and incitement against a segment of the population are typical hate crimes.

Over 80 percent of the hate crimes recorded by Finnish police are racist crimes. Religion, disability and sexual orientation are also visible in police statistics as motives for hate crimes.

Becoming a victim of a hate crime causes serious consequences for the victim, his/her loved ones and also the wider community. A hate crime focuses on the identity of the victim and may cause isolation and fear in others of the same public group. Fear is also increased by the fact that you may become a victim again, because you represent a minority.

A person who has become a victim of a hate crime does not personally need to know whether there is a hate motive in the background of an offense. A crime should be reported to the police and it is important to tell the police all matters related to the crime, including any doubts on the motive of the offender. According to law, a crime can be reported in a language that the victim understands. If necessary, the police must arrange interpretation.

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Was it a hate crime (Victim Support Finland, Human Rights Federation and the Ministy of the Interior)
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