Improving awareness and enforcement of hate crimes

This week, DRO staff Advocate Timothy Roessel participated in a statewide public safety training about hate crimes. The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office organized the full-day training, which included sessions on the need for law enforcement to work together with community members to promote awareness about hate crimes and the challenges of accurately reporting the offenses.

Participants included about 100 local, state, federal and tribal police and prosecutors, advocacy groups and community representatives. Hate crimes based on disability are traditionally underreported; only 92 were reported in the U.S. in 2013. Our staff will continue to work with police bureaus to improve and protect the safety of Oregonians with disabilities.

Read more about the training, and the speech given by Matthew Shepard’s parents Janet and Dennis, at the Oregonian. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was named for Shepard and expanded the definition of hate crimes to include actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

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