The appropriate recording of hate crime by state authorities (most usually by the police) has been recognized internationally as important to addressing hate crime. However, little scholarly attention has been paid to the role played by civil society in monitoring hate crime. This article will elaborate a range of purposes fulfilled by civil society organisations in collecting data on the extent and motivations of hate crime occurring in a given jurisdiction. Drawing on in-depth interviews with civil society organisations engaged in conducting third party monitoring of hate crime in one such jurisdiction, we will document the manner in which such monitoring systems (a) provide a means of reporting hate crime; (b) provide minority communities a means of reporting hate crime; (c) serve as a comparator to potentially unrepresentative official statistics where these are collected; (d) provide an evidence base for legislative change; and (e) provide a platform to affirm victims’ naming of their experiences as hate crimes. This internationally transferable taxonomy of the functions of civil society monitoring systems, is complemented by additional insights into the particular significance of such mechanisms in jurisdictions in which the construct of hate crime is not acknowledged in the justice system. On a critical note, the article will identify victim support as a natural extension of hate crime recording systems, noting that civil society organisations collecting data on hate crime in Ireland do not fulfil this remit. In summary, we argue for the value of civil society hate crime reporting systems as a source of challenge to otherwise hegemonic state constructions of jurisdictional hate crime. We advocate for international bodies to incorporate the financial support of civil society organisations into their monitoring functions on this basis.

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