National frameworks to address hate crime in the United States of America

This page provides information on the national frameworks to address hate crime in the United States. The information provided here should be viewed alongside data presented on the hate crime report page of the United States.

Hate crime recording and data collection

The United States Hate Crime Statistics Act requires the collection and publication of hate crime data. The authorities responsible for data collection are the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The Bureau of Justice Statistics at the Department of Justice collects administrative records for federal crimes through the Federal Justice Statistics Program, relying on records of the Executive Office of United States Attorneys, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, and the United States Sentencing Commission. The records include the number of defendants charged with a federal hate crime, the number sentenced under a federal hate crime offence, and the number who received a hate crime sentencing enhancement.

In 2021, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program finalized the process started in 2019 of transitioning records from all federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

The NIBRS captures details about every crime incident – as well as about separate offences within the same incident – including information on victims, known offenders, relationships between victims and offenders, arrestees, and the property involved in crimes. Unlike data reported through the UCR Program's Summary Reporting System (SRS) – an aggregate monthly tally of crimes – the NIBRS goes much deeper due to its ability to provide details on the circumstances and context for crimes, including the location, time of day, and whether the incident was cleared.

In July 2021, the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division launched the Hate Crimes Explorer page on the Crime Data Explorer (CDE) Website. The CDE is an interactive tool that enables law enforcement and the public to use and more easily understand the massive amounts of Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data currently collected and published by FBI UCR Program. Deploying hate crime data to the CDE will help to increase the transparency of hate crime data across the country.

The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics conducts a regular National Crime Victimization Survey, with the most recent data on hate crime victimization available for 2022.

Hate crime victim support

The United States provide specialist support to victims of hate crime. Victims of hate crime are entitled to the same rights as other victims of federal crimes. Some victims are considered vulnerable, but victims of hate crime do not fall under this category unless they are children, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or have other vulnerabilities, such as linked to a disability.

Victims receive support from the FBI's Victim Services Division during investigations of federal hate crimes until the investigation is closed, or until it is turned over to the Executive Office of United States Attorneys Victim/Witness Coordinators during trials.

Funding of specialized hate crime victim support is done through the Federal Grants for Services for Victims of the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crimes. The Office also partners with community-based organizations throughout the country, and with other federal, state, tribal, and local partners working on hate crime-related projects and supporting hate crime victims in their recovery.

One of the services funded through the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crimes is the Victim Connect Resource Center, which is a weekday phone, chat, and text-based referral helpline operated by the National Center for Victims of Crime. It serves hate crime victims as well as victims of other types of crime. Services are anonymous, confidential, and available for all victims of crime in the United States and its territories. There is a dedicated service for deaf, hearing-impaired, and speech-impaired support seekers. Visitors to the hotline receive specialized services, including emotional support, information on rights and available support in over 200 languages. The Victim Assistance Specialists receive extensive training and mentoring to provide emotional support, information, and provide effective referrals. Referrals are tailored to individual needs and can be made to local, state, and national organizations.

In general, at the earliest opportunity, a responsible official shall provide identified victims with information about services available to them. The responsibility for providing a victim with referrals for services during the investigation lies with the investigative agency. Once an investigation has been transferred to the prosecutorial entity, responsible officials should ensure that referrals for services are made, co-ordinating any existing and new referrals to ensure consistency, avoid duplication of services, and meet the best interests of the victim and the case.

Victims have a number of rights during the criminal proceedings, including the right to be notified they have been the victim of a federal crime, to be informed about available medical, social, psychological and other support services, both private and public, to receive protection from the offender and persons acting in concert with the offender, to be informed about the status of investigation to the extent that this does not interfere with the proceedings, and to have personal property held for evidentiary purposes maintained in good condition and returned as soon as it is no longer needed for evidentiary purposes.

Additionally, in cases when federal charges are filed involving images or material depicting the victim, they or their parent, guardian, or other appropriate alternate contact (in the case of minors) are entitled to: be protected from the accused; receive a reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding; not be excluded from any such public court proceeding unless decided otherwise by the court; be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding; confer with the attorney for the government in the case; receive full and timely restitution as provided in law; have the proceedings conducted without unreasonable delay; be treated with fairness and with respect for their dignity and privacy; and be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.

The Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman within the Executive Office for United States Attorneys is entrusted with receiving and investigating administrative complaints filed by crime victims against the employees of the Department of Justice.

In October 2022, the Department of Justice issued updated Attorney General Guidelines for Victim Assistance. The updated guidelines include a new provision expanding authority to provide assistance to federal crime victims who do not suffer a direct financial or physical injury. The new provision includes an example for victims of hate crime, noting that hate crimes injure not only the direct victim but others in the victim's community.