Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has published a collection of resources for people who may have been victims of hate crimes or acts of intimidation. The information is being publicized by the California Department of Justice in response to the troubling recent increase in hate crimes, hate acts and incidents of intimidation across the state. The information provided is intended to serve as a guide for individuals who seek mental health support or may need to file a formal complaint with the state regarding an incident.
On the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported a significant increase in calls, over 2 ½ times the normal volume, with hundreds of callers seeking support.
Californians seeking confidential mental health support as a result of a hate crime or an incident may contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, where lines are open 24/7. Spanish speakers seeking mental health support may call (888) 628-9454 to reach la Red para la Prevención del Suicidio.
In addition, the California Department of Health Care Services encourages residents seeking assistance in a crisis to access their local mental health hotlines. To find the phone number for a local county crisis hotline visit http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/Documents/CountyMentalHealthCrisisNumbers-December2012.pdf
If you feel you are a victim of a hate crime or act of intimidation, you may file a complaint with the California Department of Justice Civil Rights Enforcement Section by visiting https://oag.ca.gov/victimservices/contact or calling (877) 433-9069.
The Civil Rights Enforcement Section (CRES) enforces civil rights laws on behalf of state agencies and the Attorney General in her independent capacity. The CRES is tasked with educating the public about California and federal civil rights laws to ensure that the public is aware of their rights and remedies under those laws.
Additionally, if you wish to report a crime, please file a report with your local police or sheriff’s department http://www.post.ca.gov/le-agencies.aspx in the area where the crime occurred.
Earlier this month, as a result of the reported uptick in threats of hate crimes and other violent extremism, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issued an information bulletin to law enforcement agencies across California. The bulletin outlines state laws that prohibit hate crimes and other hate-related acts and encourages state and local law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant and respond appropriately to suspected or actual hate crime activity. The bulletin summarizes and reminds local law enforcement agencies about the multiple California criminal laws that prohibit hate crimes and/or provide enhanced penalties for specified hate-related acts. ■