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Hate Crimes

What is a hate crime? Any crime committed in Vermont that is maliciously motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age, service in the armed forces of the United States, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity is a hate crime. The perpetrator can be given additional penalties at sentencing. Hate crimes should be reported to your local law enforcement agency. State’s Attorneys can seek increased penalties for hate crimes, including longer jail sentences and higher fines.

What are the most common hate crimes in Vermont?

  • Assaults (hitting, pushing, spitting, threats of immediate violence)
  • Unlawful mischief – damage or destruction of property
  • Telephone harassment (including repeated hang-ups)
  • Disorderly Conduct (by loud or public threats and abuse

Assistance to Victms:

  • The Vermont Attorney General’s Civil Rights Unit may be able to provide significant assistance to victims even when the perpetrator is not charged with a crime.
  • The Civil Rights Unit provides assistance to victims of hate crimes in obtaining civil injunctions to protect them from the perpetrators.
  • A victim can seek compensation from the offender.
  • A victim can seek attorney’s fees.

What is a Hate Crime Injunction?

  • A hate crime injunction (protective order) orders the offender not to harass or contact the victim and not to commit further hate crimes against a victim or anyone else, and can include other requirements for the victim’s protection.
  • The Attorney General’s Office can help hate crime victims obtain protective orders and can seek civil penalties from offenders.
  • If the offender violates a hate crime injunction (protective order) it is a crime – and the offender can be arrested and jailed immediately.

How do I:

  • Report a hate crime? If you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime, you should report the incident to your local law enforcement agency immediately.

  • Obtain the assistance of the Attorney General’s office as a hate crime victim? please call our toll-free (in Vermont) number, (888)-745-9195. You may also contact us at:

    Office of the Attorney General
    Civil Rights Unit
    109 State Street
    Montpelier, VT 05602
    (802) 828-3657
    (802) 828-3665 (TTY)
    (802) 828-3187 (fax)
    intake@atg.state.vt.us (e-mail)

  • Obtain a hate crime injunction? (link to process)

  • Get information on hate crimes in Vermont? 2003 Hate Crimes Report (link) Contact Civil Rights Unit: intake@atg.state.vt.us

  • Get information on training provided by the Civil Rights Unit: intake@atg.state.vt.us or telephone at (802) 828-3657

Law: Hate Crimes Act, 13 V.S.A. §§ 1454-1457 & 1458-1466

Other Resources: Informative sites about hate crimes and hate groups include:

Anti-Defamation League site on combating hate (at main ADL site an anti-hate filter is available to protect children from internet hatred): http://www.adl.org/main_combating_hate.asp

HateWatch (detailed information about hate groups and hate crimes—contains some graphic material which is not suitable for children): http://hatewatch.org

Not in Our Town (a website maintained by the Public Broadcasting System with a list of anti-hate organizations and information about anti-hate campaigns which have been used successfully in some communities): http://www.pbs.org/niot/

Simon Wiesenthal Center Task Force on Hate: (a non-profit organization focused on combating extremism and holocaust denial) http://www.wiesenthal.com/taskforce/index.cfm.

Southern Poverty Law Center (a non-profit organization that combats hate through education and litigation): http://www.splcenter.org/.

Documents and Resources

Reports

  • 2008 Hate Crimes Report to the Vermont Legislature

  •   Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.