Skip to main content

The Nordic countries are combating hate crime targeting LGBTI people

The Nordic countries are among the most progressive in the world when it comes to the health and well-being of LGBTI people. Yet many are exposed to violence, hatred, intimidation and harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. A new report has just been released which sheds light on this situation.

The report entitled Hate crimes targeting LGBTI people in the Nordic countries describes how these countries are working to capture and combat hate crime targeting LGBTI people and points out important actors, strategies and legislation.

All people should be able to live and work in the Nordic countries without fear of hatred, threats and discrimination. This report gives us a better basis for improving the situation of LGBTI people by pointing to what efforts are needed. For example, decision makers, the authorities and civil society all need to work together in better ways, says Thomas Blomqvist, Finland’s Minister for Gender Equality.

The report presents how the police and the legal system work when it comes to hate crimes in each country for example. It also gives examples of knowledge-enhancement initiatives and support for victims of crime. The role and efforts of civil society are also a focus.

Preventive efforts common

A somewhat positive picture of the trend in the Nordic countries in recent decades emerges from the report, which names new legislation protecting LGBTI people against hatred and discrimination as a contributing factor to this. The majority of these countries are also working to prevent and identify hate crimes against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Often, a number of authorities and civil society organisations are involved in this work.

Other factors that point in a positive direction are that hate crimes are prioritised by the police in many of these countries. It is also common to keep statistics on how often and where hate crimes take place in order to enhance knowledge about them. Many of these countries are also engaged in knowledge-enhancing measures which aim to get more people to report these crimes, or to improve the skills of those who encounter the victims of these crimes in their work.

A number of challenges for these countries in combating hate crime emerge from the report – challenges related to the work of the police and how cooperation between different actors functions. Examples of these challenges are that the police sometimes fail to recognise hate motives in crimes, and that those groups that are particularly at risk of hate crime often lack confidence in the police. These are factors which make it more difficult to solve hate crimes. The report also highlights the need to improve cooperation between the police and civil society crime victim support activities.

Several initiatives to improve the situation of LGBTI people in the Nordic countries

This report is one of several initiatives within the framework of the regional LGBTI strategy adopted by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2020. Previous initiatives have focused on the health and well-being of young LGBTI people and next year a research review of the living conditions of older LGBTI people is planned. The report Hate crimes targeting LGBTI people in the Nordic countries was produced by Nordic Information on Gender (NIKK) on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

It will be presented in conjunction with the Nordic Council of Ministers’ seminar LGBTI People’s Safety and Well-being – Good Practices in the Nordics held in Helsinki on 30 November.

Read the full report here (PDF)
An accessible version of the publication can be found here

Updated 1 December 2021