As a victim of hate speech you have several ways to remedy the harm done to you by such expressions. Most commonly hate speech will be investigated in criminal proceedings, but in addition to that you can also bring a civil claim for compensation.

Complaints to the disseminator

In certain cases, it may be sensible to contact the disseminator of the hate speech, for example, by reporting instances of hate speech that you see on social media to the platform itself. This is especially relevant if you are not a direct victim of hate speech and are not willing to seek the initiation of criminal proceedings.

It is also important to assess whether the platform responsible for hosting or disseminating the hate speech, should also be liable. If the platform refuses to remove instances of hate speech, it can face fines or even stricter liability. In such a case, you could seek compensation from them as well.

Criminal proceedings

If you believe that you have been a target of hate speech, you can request the police to initiate criminal proceedings.

If the police reject your request to initiate criminal proceedings and you consider that this decision is not well grounded, you may appeal it to the supervising prosecutor in your case. You must submit the appeal within 10 days of the date when you received the decision. The procedure and time limits for the appeal must be indicated in the decision.

Read more about criminal liability.

Civil claim

Regardless of the outcome of criminal proceedings, you have a right to claim monetary compensation from the authors or disseminators of expressions that have caused moral suffering or material damages to you. You can bring such claim in two situations:

  • Firstly, if the police open a criminal case and indict the accused, you may claim compensation from the accused during the criminal proceedings. However, if your claim for monetary compensation is not fully satisfied within criminal proceedings, you may bring a separate civil claim.
  • Secondly, you may initiate civil litigation and ask for monetary compensation from the author or disseminator of the expressions even if the police and public prosecutor refuse to start a criminal investigation. In this case you will have to prove that the statements (or other forms of expression) have caused you moral suffering or material damage.
  • Thirdly, you may initiate civil litigation and ask for monetary compensation from the author or disseminator of the expressions even if you do not initiate criminal proceedings by complaining to the police. In this case you will have to prove that the statements (or other forms of expression) have caused you moral suffering or material damage.

Read more about civil liability.

Defamation claim

Even if the insulting expressions did not reach the level of hate speech and were not considered a crime, you may still consider these expressions defamatory and file a complaint. Read more about defamation and how to submit such complaint.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education