Information for Victims of Hate Crimes
The California Victims’ Bill of Rights, known as Marsy’s Law, give you these important rights:
- Get money for your losses. Apply for money to cover your property losses, medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
- Say how the crime impacted you. Tell the court how the crime impacted your life before the defendant is sentenced.
- Get information about the criminal case. Ask the prosecutor for certain information about the case.
- Get orders from the court. The court can make orders that could help you, such as a protective order to keep the defendant away from you or an order to pay attorney fees if you hired a lawyer to help with your case. The court may also order the defendant to pay you $25,000 or more for violating your civil rights. (Talk to a lawyer about your rights under the Ralph Act and the Bane Act.)
- California law prohibits law enforcement authorities from asking individuals, including those who are reporting or are victims of potential crimes, about their immigration status, unless the information is necessary to certify the victim for a U visa (victim of crime visa) or T visa (victim of human trafficking visa).
If you are a hate crime victim, you should:
- Contact your local law enforcement agency right away.
- Get medical attention (if you need it).
- Write down the exact words that were said.
- Make notes about any other facts.
- Save all evidence (e.g., graffiti, eggshells, writing on Victim’s vehicle). If safe, wait until law enforcement arrives and takes photos.
- Get the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails of other victims and witnesses.
- Try to get a description from any eyewitnesses of the criminal or the vehicle.
- Contact community organizations in your area that respond to hate crimes.
What you and your community can do
- Speak out against hate and intolerance.
- Have community rallies to support victims.
- Offer support and help to victims.
- Ask public officials to speak out against hate crimes.
- Establish a human relations commission or hate crime network that includes law enforcement, local government, schools, religious organizations and community organizations. Ask them to respond to hate crimes immediately when they happen and to promote prevention and awareness.
Where to find help
Contact 911 or go to a local hospital if you need immediate attention. To file a report, contact your local law enforcement agency.
California Attorney General’s Office Victims’ Services Unit
Offers crime victims and their families support and information at every stage of the criminal process. For additional information, call (877) 433-9069 or visit California Office of the Attorney General's Hate Crimes web page.
California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
State agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws and protecting the people from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations and from hate violence and human trafficking. DFEH accepts claims from victims of hate violence or threats of violence on account of a victim’s real or perceived protected social group. For information on how to file a claim, visit the DFEH website.
Local District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Assistance Center
Works directly with the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) to assist victims in every county. For information on a local office and resources, visit the CalVCB website.
U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Services
Works with community groups to resolve community conflicts and prevent and respond to alleged hate crimes.
- Napa County Sheriff’s Office Hate Crime Flyer (PDF)
- Attorney General Hate Crime Brochure-English (PDF)
- Attorney General Hate Crime Brochure-Spanish (PDF)
For information or brochures in other languages, please visit the California Office of the Attorney General's Hate Crimes web page.
Click here to learn more about what you need to know to protect yourself and others, including how to spot a hate crime, and the difference between a hate crime and a hate incident.