WHAT IS A HATE CRIME?
A hate crime is a criminal act or attempted criminal act against an individual or group of individuals because of their actual or perceived membership in a certain social group, including: age, class, disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sex or sexual orientation. Hate crimes generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by hatred of one or more of the listed conditions above. Incidents may involve sexual assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or hate mail.
· Free speech is protected by the United States Constitution and is not a hate crime. However, speech that carries a credible threat of violence against an individual or group of people is criminal.
· Note: If the criminal offense was not committed because of bias, an appropriate criminal charge can nonetheless be filed.
WHO ARE THE VICTIMS?
These crimes victimize everyone – individuals and our entire community.
· Any crime victim who feels targeted because of their actual or perceived membership in a certain social group is a victim of a hate crime
HOW TO GET HELP?
California Fair Employment & Housing Commission: report a hate crime.
· 1-800-884-1684(TTY: 800-700-2320)
Anti-Violence Project: reporting, counseling, and attorney consult for victims of homophobic, anti-transgender & anti-HIV/AIDS violence, vandalism and harassment.
· 800-373-2227(Sp: 877-963-4666)
A hate crime is a crime and should be reported to the police like any other criminal act. If you need the local police phone number for your area, please call 1-800-victims.
The FBI – Civil Rights/Hate Crimes: investigates and prosecutes hate crimes.
· (202) 324-3000
Legal Definition: "Hate crime" means a criminal act committed (including but not limited to those found below in 422.6), in whole or in part, becuase of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim:
- Race or ethnicity
- Sexual orientation
- Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Cal. Pen. Code § 422.55.
No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States in whole or in part because of one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listed in subdivision (a) of Section 422.55. No Person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall knowingly deface, damage, or destroy the real or personal property of any other person for the purpose of intimidating or interfering with the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to the other person by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States, in whole or in part because of one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listen in subdivision (a) of Section 422.55. Cal. Pen. Code § 422.6.