Massachusetts residents experiencing bias-motivated harassment or threats can report them to the attorney general’s office through a new hotline announced Monday.
Since the presidential election, people across the country have been targeted and harassed, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said in a statement. The new hot line can be used to report harassment and intimidation of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, women, LGBTQ individuals, and immigrants.
“In Massachusetts, we will protect people’s rights, fight discrimination and keep people safe,” Healey said in a statement. “There are reports from around the country following the election that people have been targeted and subjected to conduct that imperils safety and civil rights.”
The hot line is monitored by staff from the attorney general’s office, officials said. While some incidents will be referred to police or the attorney general’s criminal bureau, anyone who has experienced a potential hate crime of feels that they are in danger should call the police.
Officials said most hate crimes are prosecuted by local district attorney’s offices, but can be prosecuted by the attorney general’s office under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.
Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, president of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs, said in a statement that police are “committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of all individuals including racial, ethnic, religious, and LGBTQ groups are not violated by any form of harassment and/or intimidation contrary to the law.”
Residents can call the hot line at 1-800-994-3228 or fill out a civil rights complaints online, officials said. People can also report through the attorney general’s office’s social media platforms.
Officials also said that immigrant communities can come forward with concerns without “fear of reprisal based on immigration status.”