By Maureen Curtis and Wanda Lucibello
October 27, 2017
Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance organization. We provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for all victims of crime and abuse, including victims of hate crimes. Every day, we help victims of hate crimes heal from trauma by providing caring and comprehensive services. These services include counseling, advocacy and safety planning and are available to anyone regardless of their immigration status.
What Exactly is a Hate Crime?
Hate crimes target individuals, groups of individuals or property because of a perception or belief about race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristic defined under law. Hate crimes impact more than the specific target; they can also have a detrimental effect on the quality of life and safety in communities.
How Often do Hate Crimes Occur? What are the latest available Hate Crime Statistics?
Law enforcement agencies have noticed an increase in hate crime incidents. The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services reported that there was an increase in hate crimes against individuals by 7% from 2014 to 2015. In addition, the FBI Hate Crime Statistics reports a national increase of 20% from 2014 to 2015. This upward trend implies that either more hate crimes are being committed or that more victims of hate crimes are coming forward to report.
What You Can Do if You are a Victim of a Hate Crime
It is ultimately up to victims of hate crimes to decide if they want to involve law enforcement officials. They can also seek support from others such as professional counselors, clergy, trusted friends and/or family.
How Can Safe Horizon Provide Services for Victims of Hate Crimes?
For those not sure about what next steps to take, we have Community Program offices that serve all five boroughs. The Community Programs provide services including safety planning, advocacy, case management, information and referrals, supportive counseling and support groups.
Our Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) works in tandem with law enforcement officials to help victims of all crime. CVAP advocates are currently in 55 precincts throughout New York City. They review police reports and reach out proactively to victims of crime and abuse to address their specific needs. CVAP advocates also meet with victims of crime who may not have filed a police report but come into an NYPD precinct seeking assistance. The advocates speak 15 languages and can access Language Line as needed. They will work with any victim of crime, even if they do not have legal status in the U.S.
Safe Horizon’s Family Court Programs and Criminal Court Programs can also provide assistance in obtaining legal guidance. The Counseling Center can help heal from intense, debilitating trauma symptoms.
If you believe you have been a victim of any crime, or a family member or other loved one has been a victim of homicide, please call our Crime Victims Hotline 866-689-HELP (4357). Our Crime Victims Hotline is open 24 hours a day and can accommodate speakers of all languages.