27 Jul California Launches Hotline to Make Reporting Hate Crimes Easier
(Image courtesy of the state of California via Bay City News)
By Samantha Kennedy
In response to an increase in hate crimes, the California Civil Rights Department launched a hotline and online portal for hate crimes and incidents in May. The hotline offers assistance in over 200 languages.
The hotline, CA vs Hate, allows both victims and witnesses of hate crimes to report incidents.
“Here in California, we are sending an unequivocal message that hate will not be tolerated,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press release. “Now, Californians have another tool to ensure that not only justice is served, but that individuals have access to additional resources to help deal with the lingering wounds that remain after such a horrendous crime occurs.”
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, initially proposed the hotline in 2021 to combat hate crimes against vulnerable communities, such as Asian and Black Americans. In 2021, anti-Asian hate crimes rose nearly 180% and anti-Black crimes remained the most prevalent.
Services provided by the hotline and online portal are free and culturally competent. The online portal offers assistance in 15 languages. Additionally, people can make reports in over 200 languages over the phone. Assistance includes an anonymous reporting option and a reporter’s immigration status does not matter.
Kevin Kish, the director of California’s Civil Rights Department, said the diversity of California makes it strong, but the increase in hate crimes is a “persistent and growing threat” for residents.
To reach as many residents as possible, outreach will be in multiple languages using public service announcements and direct marketing.
CA vs Hate’s approach hopes to remove some of the challenges victims and witnesses face when reporting a hate crime, including fear of retaliation or lack of trust in law enforcement or the legal system.
“I urge all Californians to know their rights and to take advantage of these important resources,” Kish said.
Californians can go to CAvsHate.org or call (833) 866-4283 Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to report incidents.
This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.