Hate crime is a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.
Hate crime generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the social groups listed above. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).
Resources Available in RI:
RI Commission on Prejudice and Bias
The Commission is charged with the responsibility of “studying and reporting on all forms of prejudice, bias and hatred in RI”. The commission is comprised of 17 members representing the state legislature, Attorney General’s office, state police, community members and others. We have been focused on training law enforcement (regionally, Providence, RISP and Municipal Academies) to become familiar with the language and intent of HATE CRIME, how to identify when a crime is a hate crime and what to do about it. We are determined to work throughout RI to enhance communication between law enforcement and our communities.
Crime is always devastating to its victims. Hate crime can be even more distinct and have harmful effects, because they are based on belonging to a group/community/family, not necessarily on any individual characteristic or behavior. A victim cannot change their racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression or disability prejudice. In addition, hate crime may take on added dimensions in a victim’s life, including:
A lingering sense of fear and vulnerability
A feeling of inability to prevent a recurrence
Severe emotional and psychological impacts
Symbolic reinforcement of the legitimacy of prejudice and bias
Loss of importance and self-worth, for both the victim and the victim’s group/community/family
Reactionary hate crime or incident against the perpetrator’s group/community/family
People need to report when they believe they have been a victim of a hate incident or crime if we intend to make a change in our culture. Waiting for major headline events is not the answer. Hate groups and marches continue because every day these attitudes and behaviors are going unchallenged. These incidents or crimes must get named and counted.They must never be minimized or normalized. Contact us if you need help in the reporting process.
RI Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights Advocate
Keith Hoffmann, Special Assistant Attorney General
401-274-4400 ext. 1882