top of page


Is hate crime specifically regulated against homeless people in your jurisdiction? Do you know any case?


No, there have been some initiatives in this regard, but have not been incorporated into our Criminal Code yet, despite studies showing that approximately 47% homeless persons have suffered hate crimes.

However, the Supreme Court has been clear in its case law that the hate crime, and the hate aggravating circumstance, cannot be applied to the victim just because (s)he is a homeless person.



The Belgian Criminal Code increases the minimum punishments of certain crimes when one of the incentives for committing the crime consisted of hate against, the contempt for, of the hostility towards someone’s race, ethnicity, social origin and a number of other criteria. However, none of these criteria concerns homelessness specifically. 


No, this offense does not exist in the French Criminal Code, even though the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) notes, in a study published in 2015, that homeless people are eight times more likely to be victims of theft than people living in ordinary housing, and almost twice as much likely to be victims of assault.

In France, the hate crime does not correspond to a specific criminal qualification. 


Depending on the individual case, hate crimes can be prosecuted based on Article 261bis CC, however, only if the motive is based on race, ethnic origin or religion but – hence, it does not cover discrimination or hate crime solely based on homelessness.


Legislation makes hateful behaviour towards a victim based on the victim's membership (or presumed membership) of a racial group or a religious group an aggravating element in sentencing for specified crimes. Typically, these fall into the classic groups.

As yet there are no cases which have been brought on the basis of a hate crime arising out the specific characteristic of Homelessness as a specific group recognised by the legislation above. 


Unfortunately, there is no specific regulation of a hate crime against homeless people on a federal level.

In 2017, there was a proposed bill to establish the Homelessness Protection Act, which would have amended Section 485.05 of the New York Penal Law to include “homelessness” as a protected class against hate crimes, and include a definition of homelessness.  However, the bill was not passed.

bottom of page