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The City of Somerville investigates alleged hate or bias incidents taking place within City boundaries through the Department of Racial and Social Justice (RSJ). The RSJ Department investigates these instances separately from the City’s Police Department. Filing a hate/bias incident report is free and available to any City resident, employee, or visitor. If the reported incident is determined to rise to the level of a hate crime, RSJ will pass on the investigation to the Somerville Police Department.

Hate and Bias Complaints

The City encourages you to report hate or bias incidents. You can file even if you are not sure we can investigate.


Overview

  • Who can file a complaint and why to file
  • What can we investigate
  • Next steps after filing


Who can file a hate/bias complaint?

Anyone who is experiencing or has experienced hate or bias because of their protected class within the:

  • City of Somerville
  • Last 300 days


Protected class refers to elements of a person’s identity they cannot or should not be asked to change, such as:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation

And more.


Why file a complaint?

The City of Somerville takes hate and bias complaints seriously and will investigate instances of alleged hate/bias conduct. If you believe you have been targeted, we encourage you to file a complaint.

When you file:

  • The RSJ Department documents your complaint.
  • The City becomes aware of possible incidents. We share information with relevant City departments.
  • There is no cost. Filing a complaint and the process that follows are free services. We conduct a neutral, impartial investigation.
     

You can submit an anonymous complaint. Please note that if you do not provide contact information, RSJ will be unable to follow up with you concerning the investigation of your complaint. If you do not want to provide your contact information, you may also submit the contact information of someone that can represent or advocate for you. The information you provide related to the complaint is confidential and RSJ will not release it to the public.

 

File a Hate/Bias Complaint or Request
 


Instructions

  1. Click the box above to file a Hate/Bias Complaint
  2. At the top of the page, select your preferred language
  3. Read the instructions and fill out the form to the best of your ability (Note: you can submit an anonymous form but the RSJ Department will not be able to follow up with you. The complaint or request will still be considered and investigated, if appropriate.)
  4. Submit the form
  5. The RSJ Department will acknowledge receipt of your complaint or request and follow up within 24-72 hours

     

Resources

What is a Hate/Bias Incident?

The definition of a hate incident varies by local laws and policies. The State of Massachusetts defines a hate incident as:

A hate incident occurs when someone threatens, attacks, intimidates, harasses, or otherwise harms another person because of that person’s identity, including their race, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. A hate incident may or may not be a hate crime.


What is a Hate Crime?

The State of Massachusetts defines a hate crime as:

Certain criminal conduct is a hate crime when the perpetrator is motivated by bias or prejudice against another person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability

If you, your business, or your organization would like to report a hate crime in the City of Somerville, contact the Somerville Police Department.


 

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