Community Bias Response Toolkit

We all have a role to play in ensuring our communities are safe, inclusive spaces where everyone is celebrated for who they are, and where everyone feels a sense of belonging. When hate or bias occurs in your community, how you respond is critical. If you were victimized, do you know where you can report? Or how to interact with the police?  If you were a witness, do you know how to safely intervene? Or what language to use in speaking with the victim? What about online safety?  Do you know how to talk to kids about hate and bias?

Our Community Bias Response Toolkit provides you with information about the follow questions:

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What is the difference between a hate/bias crime and a bias incident?

What is the difference between hate speech and free speech?

I have experienced hate or bias, but I do not want to report to the police. What can I do?

  • Document bias for your records – If you are experiencing bias, we encourage you to keep a detailed record for yourself. You may remember the details, people, dates, and times today, but two years from now at a hearing or under oath, it may be helpful to review a tracking document that you created when it was happening.
  • Report Hate or Bias to a Hotline – Looking for support? You do not have to report hate or bias to the police.
  • Basic Rights Information – We have created a reference list of basic rights that everyone in Oregon has when engaging with systems in the aftermath of a bias incident or bias crime.

I have experienced hate or bias and I want to report to the police. What can I do?

I have been the victim of a hate/bias crime. What are my rights?

  • Crime Victim Rights – there are many Oregon Constitutional and statutory rights for crime victims engaging with the criminal justice system; here are a few key rights for hate/bias crime victims:
    • A victim has the right to be treated with dignity and respect by police and everyone else in the criminal justice process. (Oregon Constitution Article I § 42 (1))
    • A victim has the right to have their safety taken into consideration at every stage of the criminal justice process. (Oregon Constitution Article I § 43 (1))
    • A victim has the right to a free interpreter, whether testifying or simply listening to a hearing, or in helping to assert any Oregon Constitutional victim right. (ORS 45.275, ORS 45.285(3), ORS 419C.285(4))
    • A victim who is 15 years old or older has the right to have a support person with them at every hearing or meeting during the criminal justice process (except Grand Jury and a Child Abuse Assessment). The person cannot be a witness to the crime that is being investigated and must be at least 18 years old. It could be a friend, family member, community leader, or another support person. ORS 147.425
  • We’ve provided an overview of Oregon Constitutional and statutory crime victim rights for bias crime victims. This information does not constitute legal advice.
  • Oregon’s Victims’ Rights Guides are available in multiple languages.
  • If your case has been charged by the local prosecutor’s office, Oregon’s Victim Rights Request Forms are available in multiple languages.
  • Victims of federal crimes have rights during the investigation stage and during the prosecution of the criminal case. Learn more about these federal crime victim rights under the Victim Rights and Restitution Act (VRRA) and Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA) here ».

If I am the witness to hate or bias, how do I respond or safely intervene?

I’ve been contacted by the media. What are my options?

What are some things I should consider in terms of my safety?

I want to play an active role in making my community safer and better for everyone. What can I do now?

Do you have any resource suggestions related to schools and young people?

Do you know any resources to help people out of a life of hate?

What are the Oregon bias crime and federal hate crime laws?

  • ORS 147.380 » defines a Bias Incident under Oregon law.
  • ORS 166.155 » defines misdemeanor Bias Crime in the Second Degree under Oregon law.
  • ORS 166.165 » defines felony Bias Crime in the First Degree under Oregon law.
  • ORS 163.191 » defines misdemeanor Intimidation by Display of a Noose under Oregon law.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 245 » covers violent interference with federally-protected rights
  • 18 U.S.C. § 249 », aka the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 and the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act of 2022, covers bias-motivated violence against a person (and attempts with a weapon)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 247 » covers damage to religious property
  • 42 U.S.C. § 3631 », the federal Fair Housing Act, covers violent interference with access to housing
  • 18 U.S.C. § 875 » and 18 U.S.C. § 876 » covers threats via internet, text or mail; bias motivation is not required but may be a sentencing enhancement

You can always contact Oregon’s statewide Bias Response Hotline to talk about your options. We welcome your call or online report.

Disclaimer: The links and information provided in this toolkit are for information only, are not exhaustive, and do not constitute legal advice. For information about your rights and legal options, consult an attorney.  Not all content reflects the views of the Oregon Department of Justice.  Resources and trainings are not vetted or otherwise endorsed by ODOJ.

Request Bias Response Training for your Community

The Oregon DOJ Civil Rights Unit provides training for community groups on bias response (hate/bias crimes, bias incidents, supporting victims, and more). Please sign up below if you are interested.

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