There is no legislation on hate crime as such. The most relevant legislation on hate crime is:
– Prohibition of racist discrimination, Article 14, Spanish Constitution.
– Discrimination as an aggravating circumstance to a crime, Penal Code, Article 22.4.
The motive may be racism, ideology, religion or belief, race or ethnic origin or nationality, sex, sexual orientation or disability – as mentioned for instance in the articles 170(1), 197(5), 314, 510, 511, 512, 515(5), 522, 523 and 524.
Under this provision the commission of a crime for racist motives, or because of ideology, religion or beliefs of the victim as well as the victims ethnic, racial or national affiliation, is deemed to be an aggravating circumstance.
According to official data of Ministry of Interior, 1172 hate crimes have been commited during 2013 in Spain: among them, 452 perpetrated againts LGTBI people and 381 due to racism and xenophobia. Andalucia, Catalonia and Madrid are the Autonomous Regions in which more hate crimes occurred. Nevertheless, according with independent reports elaborated by Spanish NGOs, at leat 4000 hate crimes occur every year in the State; and the actual number of crimes committed could be much higher since NGOs estimated in 2013 that only 4% of all cases are conveyed to authorities. The Discrimination Panel by Racial and Ethnical Origin conducted in 2010 by the Council for the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination stands out as crucial elements for Spain the high level of underreporting of hate crimes and the strong dissatisfaction with legal procedures that leads victims to regret reporting the crimes.
In this line, according with Eurobarometer 2013 the knowledge that people have about their rights in case of being discriminated is lower in Spain than in the average of the rest of European countries. In this respect, Spain has not a qualified legislation on hate crimes. It does exist the possibility of enhancing the penalty to perpetratos including racism and other bias as an aggravating motive of crimes: however its application has been extremely limited so far and as a consequence there is also an underestimated record of hate crimes within the judicial system.
In relation with racism and xenofobia, the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Connected Forms of Intolerance realized an observation visit to Spain in January of 2013. In his report, the Rapporteur points out the need to increase financial, technical and human resources of public institutions and organizations working on the issues of racism and xenophobia; along with the drastic budget cuts that have affected in the last years the implementation of public policies to combat racism.
In this situation, the Secretary General for Immigration and Emigration and the Secretary of State for Security have promoted in the last years training programs for Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to enhance the knowledge of agents about the reality of hate crimes and to strenghten their capacities to identify and report them. Nevertheless, enhancing the identification and registration of hate crimes and encouraging victims to reporting are still unresolved matters. In this regard, it’s not always easy for NGOs and community based organizations to identify appropriately hate crimes or report them. For this reason often information about cases of hate crimes is not recorded adequately and made visible within the society. Getting over these weaknesses does not seem being possible without founding trust and steady relationships between LEAs, victims and their comunities.