October 16, 2020

Reporting Hate Bias

In 2017, a Department of Justice Statistics special report found that over half of hate crimes during 2011-2015 were not reported to police. Additionally, law enforcement agencies are not mandated to report hate crimes federally, so the statistics do not fully represent the actual number of hate crime occurrences.See it Report It - ReportHateBias.org

The city of Spokane and Spokane Valley reported a combined 34 hate crimes in 2018 to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

To address under-reporting, the Spokane County Human Rights Task Force (SCHRTF) has developed an online reporting center for hate crimes and hate incidents that occur in Spokane County. This repository of reports will serve as a community record and help inform education, response, prevention, and awareness by SCHRTF.

The report can be made by the individual who experienced the hate crime or incident, a witness, or a third party. The report is not connected to law enforcement and report details will remain confidential. Reporters do have the option of leaving their contact information, if they would like a trained advocate to respond, who is available to listen and provide resources.

If a YWCA Spokane client experiences a hate crime or incident, but does not feel comfortable reporting themselves, our advocates can report on their behalf with their consent. The client’s name and contact information will not be shared without their permission.

To report hate crimes and hate incidents in Spokane County, visit:


Hate Crime vs Hate Incident

The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines a hate crime as: “A committed criminal offense which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias(es) against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” A criminal offense could include causing physical injury to an individual, their property, or threats of harm to a specific person or group or property.

The Spokane County Human Rights Task Force distinguishes a hate incident as a ​non-criminal​ action committed against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by the same characteristics of a hate crime, as mentioned previously. Since these are non-criminal in nature, law enforcement are limited in their ability to be involved. Hate speech could be considered a hate incident, unless direct and serious threats are made, which would elevate the status to a hate crime.

By: Jemma Riedel-Johnson

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