Assaults of a racist, xenophobic and anti-religious nature in France in 2018

For the last twenty-five years, the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) has sent the government a report on the state of racism, antisemitism and xenophobia in the country. The report is developed on the basis of several sources, which may be official, like records from the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Justice and the Security Survey, and also data provided by international associations and researchers. In April, a report referring to last year was presented.

In 2018, the Police and Gendarmerie services recorded 5,170 crimes related to ethnicity, nation, a particular race or religion. This figure represents a drop for a third consecutive year in this type of offences (between 2015 and 2016 there was a 20% drop, between 2016 and 2017, it was 11% and between 2017 and 2018, it was 4%). On the other hand, there was an increase in the more serious offences.

The data shows a big territorial disparity; over 60% of the victims of this nature of crime recorded by security forces have suffered such offences in the Paris area (29%) or another large urban conurbation of over 200,000 inhabitants (33%).

As far as the victims are concerned, in 2018 security forces recorded 4,840 victims of offences of a “racist nature”, of which 57% were men. The age group with most victims is between 25 and 54 (over 70%) and foreign victims amount to 20%, emphasising that 15% were from an African country.

However, it must be borne in mind that the data from police records merely represent a small portion of the «racist nature» crimes taking place, as not all victims report the offences. For this reason, data from the crime survey “Life and Security Framework”. According to this survey, during the 2012-2017 period, only 1 victim of “racist” insults out of 50 and 1 victim of «racist» threats or physical violence out of 6 stated that they had reported the incident to the police. According to this survey, in 2017, in France 1.1 million people of 14 years of age or over (1 out of 45) were victims of at least one assault of a “racist nature”.

The survey also displayed a higher frequency than in other groups of assaults committed by a group and in a public space or open to the public.

The report also refers to the Longitudinal Tolerance Rate (LTR), created in 2008 by Professor Vincent Tiberj. This is an indicator that synthesises with responses to a series of questions concerning racism or rejection of others; a rate of around 100 shows a high level of tolerance and the opposite reflects a weak tolerance level. In 2018, the tolerance level was 67, which means a 2-point rise in comparison with 2017. This evolution is not a one-off as it follows the upward trend over recent years, as between 2013 and 2018, the rate has advanced 13 points, a highly exceptional and remarkable variation in a context in which the terrorist threat and the question of welcoming refugees has been at the centre of public debate.

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