HATE CRIMES

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Based on material from Stop the Hate: www.stophate.org/stophate

1.    Identify, report, and assess the hate and violence.

Recognizing and reporting the extent of hate, violence, and bias-motivated crime is necessary to understand the scope of the problem and to accurately develop appropriate prevention measures.

2.    Assist victims of hate.

Victims of hate crimes and hate incidents face many of the same traumas as do victims of other violent crimes. Their trauma is often compounded, however, because the unique nature of bias-motivated hate is deeply personal and intended specifically to terrorize the victim. Supporting victims of such hate improves the overall climate of the community, helps ensure the health and well-being of community members, and can reduce tensions, all of which are vital to prevention efforts.

3.    Respond to hate.

Immediate response, collective action, and condemnation by the community are critical to contain unrest in the community, prevent retaliatory hate crimes and copycat crimes, and reassure the targeted individuals and community that these crimes will not be tolerated. Responding effectively to all hate incidents deters them from escalating into more violent hate crimes.

4.   Work with hate crime offenders.

Working with hate crime perpetrators is a significant prevention activity. Effective diversion programs and after care can reduce repeat offenses among these groups. Understanding that hate crime offenders are not a homogeneous group but rather complex individuals with varying motivations is important in developing effective programs to prevent a return to past behaviors and activities.

5.   Advocate for hate crime prevention.

Students are not just victims and perpetrators of hate crimes, they are also essential allies in a comprehensive approach to hate crime prevention. By using tools from violence prevention and prejudice reduction programs, students can become the most effective advocates for hate crime prevention in your school.

6.   Train volunteers in intervention, response, and prevention.

Hate crime prevention training creates a network of informed community members who are equipped to address the specific needs of victims; work with hate crime offenders; understand hate crime legislation, policy, and protocol; develop prevention programs; and build relationships with other professionals working to prevent hate crimes and hate incidents.

7.   Develop hate crime partnerships and coalitions.

Develop partnerships and coalitions among key players to improve communication between school groups (e.g., local police, student leaders, judicial officials, guidance counselors, etc.), increase the effectiveness of programs, avoid redundancy, lend credibility to initiatives, strengthen advocacy efforts, encourage comprehensive program approaches, and improve the potential for success.

8.   Change hate crime policy and protocols.

Influencing policy at the federal, state, local, and school levels may include drafting and implementing changes in policies to encourage early intervention to hate and violence. Funding hate crime prevention strategies, creating state or federal prevention networks or coalitions, and developing training and materials are all examples of ways in which policy and legislation can promote hate crime prevention. Creating and supporting school human rights and/or diversity task forces focuses public attention on prejudice and intolerance and raises awareness of hate incidents and hate crimes.

9.   Raise awareness, education, and outreach.

Fear and violence often come from lack of knowledge and exposure. Community education through mass media and school groups encourages involvement and support from the community by raising awareness of the injustice and divisiveness of hate crime and by highlighting opportunities to make a difference through prevention programs in schools and communities.

10. Reevaluate and look to the future.

Evaluation of strategies, practices, programs, and policies enables ongoing revision, increases effectiveness, and improves credibility. Implementing the steps of a comprehensive approach requires time, dedication, and sustained resources. Preventing violence and hate crimes and working to alleviate the tension caused by prejudice and bigotry is an ongoing effort.

 

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