EU Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law requires the Member States to criminalise incitement to hatred, hatred being defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent, or national or ethnic origin. The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 defines "hatred" by reference to race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, membership of the travelling community or sexual orientation.
It is important not to confuse the 2008 framework decision with Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, which is a separate EU instrument. This does not address the criminalisation of incitement to hatred. It includes a requirement for the individual assessment of victims to identify specific protection needs and to determine whether, and to what extent, they would benefit from special measures in the course of criminal proceedings due to their particular vulnerability to secondary or repeat victimisation, intimidation or retaliation. Such assessments include the personal characteristics of the victim. Recital 56 of the directive indicates that personal characteristics, in this context, includes "gender and gender identity or expression". The Member States are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive by November, 2015.