Hate crimes against our LGBT loved ones are tragically common today. In fact, according to the most recent FBI data available, there was almost one hate crime in the United States every hour in 2008 — a total of almost 7,800 reported bias-motivated incidents. And, sadly, many of these attacks are against our LGBT loved ones. There are tragic stories of many LGBT people, both locally and nationally, who have experienced extreme physical violence and even murder. Despite the increased acceptance and movement toward achieving full equality for LGBT individuals, hate crimes are still an unfortunate reality for too many people.
That’s why PFLAG National has created the Hate Crimes Prevention Guide & Toolkit, a resource informed by a wide variety of coalition partners along with the U.S. Department of Justice, for PFLAG members and supporters to learn what Hate Crimes are, and how to successfully work with local law enforcement leaders and other key community members to prevent, report, and respond to them.
Download your free copy now!
Passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
After more than a decade of lobbying, there was an overwhelming sense of relief when the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law on October 28, 2009. The bill adds disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation to existing hate crimes laws passed nearly 40 years ago. The new law also allows for some federal investigation and prosecution when local authorities are unwilling or unable to act. It also encourages state and federal law enforcement officials to work together to more effectively address violent hate crimes. The new law is truly historic as it is the first federal law to include protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Department of Justice
Now that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has become law, PFLAG continues to work with other national organizations and local chapters to help train federal and state investigators and prosecutors about the particulars of the law, along with providing guidance on how to access new resources available through the Department of Justice to address local hate crimes if a local law enforcement agency is unwilling or unable to investigate.
The new law authorizes the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes. The Department of Justice is the institution that will now regulate and enforce this law. Prior to the 2009 passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, federal law did not enable federal authorities to prosecute hate crimes motivated because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity at all.
Hate Crimes Prevention
Reported anti-LGBT violence continues to escalate — along with hate crimes based on race, religion, gender, national origin, and other real or perceived identities. Many of us live every day knowing such brutality could strike our child, loved one or friend. PFLAG has a critical role to play in helping prevent hate crimes in our communities, and chapters across the country are playing this role in many different ways. PFLAG National offers trainings designed to provide basic information and definitions for bias-motivated crimes; review the causes of hate violence; detail hate crime prevention initiatives at the national, state and local levels; and review model hate crime prevention programs for PFLAG chapters to adapt nationwide To learn more about these trainings, please contact your Field Manager today.
Educate Your Law Enforcement Officials
If you are interested in educating your state and local law enforcement officials about the new law, please be sure to contact your Field Manager.
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