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Hate Crime Laws

July 29, 2021

A report on the analysis of state and federal hate crime laws was recently released by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) in partnership with 16 leading national civil rights organizations. This report, Policy Spotlight: Hate Crime Laws, contains an analysis of the challenges and opportunities of current hate crime laws in an effort to both improve those laws and better support communities affected by hate violence.

The report highlights areas of bias within the criminal justice system and how those biases can have negative impacts on those communities that are often times the targets of hate crimes. Another issue highlighted is the lack of consistency among law enforcement agencies to collect and report data to the FBI. FBI data included in the report shows that only 12% of all law enforcement agencies across the country reported any hate crime incidents in 2019.

Also included in the report is information on several bills being considered at the federal level that have the potential to create stronger protections, enhance victim support services, improve data collection efforts, and more. This report comes at a critical time as the number of hate crimes continues to increase across our country.

We can all do our part to advocate for positive change.  Judy Shepard, Board Chair & President of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, shared in the report foreword, "We know that hate violence is a complicated social issue, requiring proactive community focused solutions, victim support, and a reduction of our reliance on the criminal justice system. We will continue to lend our voices to efforts that will enhance victim protections, increase community safety, and address the societal root causes that create, enable and perpetuate hate and bias."