San Joaquin County
District Attorney's Office




Between 2018 and 2020, there were over 3,400 hate crimes committed against citizens in California. Hate crimes have a broader effect than most other kinds of crime. Hate crime victims include not only the crime’s immediate target but also others like them. Hate crimes affect families, communities, and at times, the entire nation. It is critical to report hate crimes not only to show support and get help for victims, but also to send a clear message that the community will not tolerate these kinds of crimes. Reporting hate crimes allows communities and law enforcement to fully understand the scope of the problem in a community and put resources toward preventing and addressing attacks based on bias and hate.

What is a Hate Crime?

hate crime is a crime against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim's real or perceived protected social group. You may be the victim of a hate crime if you have been targeted because of your actual or perceived: (1) disability, (2) gender, (3) nationality, (4) race or ethnicity, (5) religion, (6) sexual orientation, and (7) association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Hate crimes are serious crimes that may result in imprisonment or jail time.

The U.S. Constitution allows hate speech as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. While these acts are certainly hurtful, they do not rise to the level of criminal violations and thus may not be prosecuted. However, it is important to note that these incidents have a traumatic impact on the victims as well as on the community at large.

In California, under the Ralph Act, Civil Code § 51.7, your civil rights may be violated if you have been subjected to hate violence or the threat of violence – even where the incident does not rise to the level of a hate crime and may be otherwise constitutionally-protected from prosecution by the government – because of your actual or perceived: sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, immigration status, political affiliation, and position in a labor dispute. A civil violation may result in restraining orders, injunctive and/or equitable relief, damages, a civil penalty of $25,000, and attorney’s fees.

If you are a hate crime victim, you should

  • Contact the local law enforcement agency 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.

Where to Find Help

San Joaquin County Victim-Witness Unit
(209) 468-2500
Victim-Witness Website

San Joaquin County Family Justice Center
(209) 468-2600

California Attorney General's
Victims' Services Unit
(877) 433-9069
TTY: (800) 735-2929

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
(800) 884-1684
TTY: (800) 700-2320

California Association of Human Relations Organizations
(213) 639-6089

California Victim Compensation Board
(800) 777-9229

U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Services
(202) 305-2935

For more information, or help with questions or concerns, contact:
California Attorney General's Office Victims' Services Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
(877) 433-9069


California Department of Justice

United States Department of Justice

American Psychological Association