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Results of the "COVID-19 Impact on Hate Crimes and Violence" support

FCT has released the results of the special support to research projects on the "Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on crimes of discrimination and incitement to hatred and violence and hate speech", which approved for funding 6 research and development (R&D) projects.

This special support line was launched by FCT in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality, and was supported by the High Commission for Migrations, IP (ACM) and the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG). The special support was directed to R&D projects and initiatives that enable the production and dissemination of knowledge and research-action regarding hate crimes and violence and the expression of hate speech, following the pandemic and dissemination of its impacts on more vulnerable groups of the population.

The deadline for applications ran from 25 January to 15 February 2021, and 50 eligible applications were received. This support had a budget allocation of 200 thousand euros financed by national funds, through the FCT budget, and the 6 selected projects will be funded between €24 812.96 and €35 995.77 per project, for a maximum duration of 10 months.

The projects will focus on the following lines of research and action: Hate speech on the Internet (3 projects), Exposure of youth and children to hate speech (2 projects), and the legal framework of the crime of hate speech (1 project).

Of the selected projects, 5 are coordinated by women and 1 by a man. The expert committee that issued the scientific opinion to support the decision of the President of the FCT Board of Directors was composed of 12 elements, 8 women and 4 men. The success rate of the applications was 12%. The projects will be developed by the following institutions: União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resistencia (UMAR), Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Investigação e Desenvolvimento in Lisbon (INESC-ID), Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia (CRIA), Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências de Educação da Universidade do Porto, ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa and Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

The launch of this line of support by FCT followed the recommendations of several European and international bodies to strengthen the comprehensive knowledge of hate crimes and racist, xenophobic, gender and homophobic violence, also alerting to the low rates of reporting and participation. These concerns were amplified by the disproportionate effects on certain vulnerable communities and groups of the expansion of discrimination practices and hate speech during the pandemic of COVID-19, leading to segmentation, increased insecurity, social exclusion, isolation and stigmatization of these groups, even preventing their access to vital rights and services (health, labor, etc.) and promoting the escalation of violent behavior and crime (ILGA Europe, 2020; UN, 2020). Health professionals, journalists, humanitarian and essential service workers have also been victims, in various ways, of misinformation and segregation motivated by fake news (UN, 2020).

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the FCT has sought to support the development of Portuguese science to combat Covid-19 and mitigate its impact on society, having even launched several exceptional funding lines. The following initiatives stand out: Gender Research 4 Covid-19; RESEARCH 4 COVID-19 (with two editions); Call de Studentships DOCTORATES 4 COVID-19, Call for R&D projects AI 4 COVID-19: Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in Public Administration; Summer with Science, in collaboration with the Directorate General of Higher Education (DGES).