This Committee does not provide
Legal Advice or Legal Services
Hate crimes (also known as bias-motivated crimes) occur when
a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a
certain social group. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has
defined a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property
motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion,
disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation." Hate itself is not a crime—and
the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties, or
What to do following an incident
If you have been victimized in a hate crime or hate incident, here are some
suggestions for things you should immediately do?
In an emergency, dial 911
Get medical attention for any injuries.
Get the responding officer's name and badge number.
Write down all details of the crime as quickly as
possible after the reporting.
If you saw the perpetrator(s), try to remember gender,
age, height, race, weight, build, clothes and other distinguishing
characteristics. If anything was said, such as anti-gay epithets or threats,
make a mental note about them.
Carefully preserve any evidence, such as notes, clothing,
graffiti, tape recordings, fingerprints, etc. Take photographs of any
injuries and of the location where the incident occurred.
If you want the crime to be reported as a hate/bias
crime, tell the officer to note that on the report.
Make sure the officer files an incident report form and
assigns a case number.
If the police do not assist you properly, file a report
here: Michael: add link to report
If a police report is not taken at the time of your
report, go to the police station and ask for one. Always get your own copy.
Even if you don't feel comfortable reporting to the police,
report what happened to the Savannah Gay and Lesbian Community Police
Collaborative! No problem is too small, no incident is insignificant.
We care and we can help.
For more information on the recently enacted Federal Hate Crime Law also known
as the Matthew Shepard Act visit:
Matthew Shepard Act
On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd,
Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (attached to the National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2010), which expanded existing United States federal hate
crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender,
sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and which dropped the
prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity.
The bill also:
removes the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a
federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school;
gives federal authorities greater ability to engage in
hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue;
provides $5 million per year in funding for fiscal years 2010 through 2012
to help state and local agencies pay for
investigating and prosecuting hate crimes;
requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to
track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people (statistics for
the other groups are already tracked).
The Act is the first federal law to extend legal protections
to transgender persons.
LGBT rights in:
Homosexual acts legal?
Recognition of same-sex unions
Allows gays to serve openly in military?
Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation)
Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender
Legal Nationwide since 2003
Varies by state, but not recognized by Federal Govt
Varies by state, but not recognized by Federal Govt.
Single gay persons may adopt, laws on couples vary by
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (under review for
No Federal protections. Banned in 20 states, Included in
the federal hate crimes law since 2009
||No Federal protection.
Banned in 13 states. Included in the federal hate crimes law since 2009