Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Pilot will be operational by July of next year, statewide hotline by January 2027

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today the three counties where his office will test a pilot version of its hate crimes hotline. Ferguson will develop and launch the pilot in Clark, King and Spokane counties over the next year.

The Legislature created the statewide hotline earlier this year within the Attorney General’s Office when it adopted Senate Bill 5427 with bipartisan support.

The new law, sponsored by Sen. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle, creates a first-of-its-kind statewide hotline where Washingtonians can report hate crimes and bias incidents, and receive information and referrals. The hotline will help combat hate crimes and bias incidents by collecting invaluable statewide data on hate and bias incidents that is not currently available. The Attorney General’s Office will publish an annual report detailing hate crimes and bias incidents in Washington. The hotline will share information with law enforcement when tips involve potential crimes and the person reporting the crime gives consent. Other incidents of bias and hate will be referred to other types of resources, such as support services or counseling.

The hotline will be operational in the three pilot counties by July 1, 2025. The hotline will expand statewide by Jan. 1, 2027.

“The ripples of harm from hate crimes and bias incidents extend beyond the victims who are directly impacted — and they must not be tolerated,” Ferguson said. “This pilot will set the foundation for a first-of-its-kind centralized, statewide resource for Washingtonians to report hate crimes and bias incidents. The hotline will help victims of hate crimes and bias incidents find culturally appropriate resources and support. We must all work together to combat hate and stand up for individuals and communities who are harmed.”

Ferguson will also convene an advisory committee that will help design the hotline’s operations and provide advice on outreach, delivery of services and funding, as well as helping to build a network of organizations where callers can be referred for further support and resources.

The advisory committee will include members of legal aid organizations, local, culturally specific service providers, community organizations that work with historically underserved communities, state agency representatives and more. Washingtonians interested in being part of the advisory committee should contact policy_team@atg.wa.gov.

The advisory committee will also help establish the hotline’s policies and data collection procedures.

How the hotline will work

Washington law defines a hate crime as assault, property damage or threats to cause injury or property damage that is committed because of the perception of a person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, or disability.

Bias incidents are acts of prejudice that are not criminal in nature and do not involve violence, threats, or property damage. Just because these incidents cannot be criminally charged does not mean they are not important to report.

The hotline will be designed to provide appropriate victim-centered, culturally competent and trauma-informed information and referrals to those who report hate crimes or bias incidents. It will be accessible to as many Washingtonians as possible, regardless of language.

The hotline will be staffed during business hours. Upon consent, staff will make referrals to local law enforcement agencies or counselors and other support services, depending on the information provided during the call. Personally identifying information collected by the hotline is not publicly disclosable.

The hotline will identify local service providers and culturally specific services to refer people who have been targeted, as well as coordinating with other county services and relevant hotlines. The Attorney General’s Office is required to use the data collected from hotline reports to provide an annual report to the governor and Legislature regarding hate crimes and bias incidents reported to the hotline. The first report is due on July 1, 2027.

Reactions from policymakers and stakeholders

Sen. Valdez: “This new hotline is a crucial step toward ensuring the safety and support of all Washingtonians. It demonstrates our commitment to providing immediate, culturally competent assistance to victims of hate crimes and bias incidents. By implementing this pilot program, we affirm that hate has no place in our communities and reinforce our dedication to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment.”

Spokane County

Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown: “The City of Spokane has seen a string of hateful acts in recent weeks which underscores the urgent need for better reporting and support mechanisms for those impacted. The Hate Crimes Hotline will be a crucial resource and Spokane is looking forward to taking an active role in piloting this new program.”

Spokane County Commission Chair Mary Kuney: “Preventing hate crimes and seeking justice for all is a top priority. Any resource that reduces fear and increases public trust has great value. We are committed to equal access to justice for all members of our Spokane community.”

Spokane County Commissioner Amber Waldref: “I’m looking forward to piloting this important resource in Spokane County. It is vital that we break down barriers so all residents are able to report potential hate crimes to ensure the safety and security of our entire community.”

Spokane County Sheriff John Nowels: “The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is excited to partner with the Attorney General’s Office on this project. I believe this partnership will ensure victims of hate crimes and hate incidents receive the support they need from the state and their local law enforcement agencies.”

Clark County

Clark County Council Chair Gary Medvigy: “Fundamental human rights and mutual respect are the hallmarks for Clark County residents, but when hate surfaces having a hotline to report it and find help will be a great additional resource.”

Clark County Sheriff John Horch: “Clark County is becoming more demographically diverse and I’m pleased that our county is participating in this program. This reporting hotline will allow those affected by hate/bias behavior an additional resource for reporting such incidents. The Hate Crimes Hotline pilot program can then assist local law enforcement agencies if any of these reported incidents need additional follow up or enforcement action.”

King County

King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall: “We recognize the true importance of a resource like this. While the Sheriff’s Office will always be an avenue for the community to report crime, we appreciate there will be times when a hotline is a more comfortable alternative. This tool will complement our efforts to improve public safety.”

Seattle Interim Police Chief Sue Rahr: “The Seattle Police Department has been a leader in hate crime and incident investigation and reporting for more than a decade. We are a proponent of responsible innovation that improves service to those who experience hate-based violence. We are hopeful this hotline moves the entirety of Washington state toward the goal of a high standard of service and care for those who experience hate crime, and consistent statistical data reporting to increase understanding of the scope of the problem of hate motivated activity, no matter where the victim is located.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine: “The alarming increase in hate and bias crimes across the state, including in King County, is an urgent concern. We are committed to stopping hate crimes and providing resources for reporting, which is why we are excited to join the State's unified approach. We know that a vast majority of hate crime victims in King County do not report their encounter to law enforcement, and this new hotline offers the community another way to seek help and the services they need.”

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay: “Hate crimes have been on the rise in Washington state for the past several years. When our communities are targeted for their race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other traits, they should have options for help in addition to 911. I’m proud to support the Attorney General’s Office in making a hate crimes hotline a reality in King County. This hotline will let our residents anonymously report hate crimes, and receive resources and guidance about what to do about them. The data collected will also be a critical asset in promoting public safety around our region. Thank you to the state Legislature and Attorney General for taking action.”

King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci: “In King County, we believe all people should feel welcome and safe. There is no place for hate and bias, but unfortunately, like many places, we have seen increases in hate crimes, causing victims to feel afraid in our community. The Hate Crimes Hotline called for by the Legislature and being implemented by the Office of the Attorney General will give our residents a safe place to report incidents and provide good data so our government agencies can more effectively respond.”

Community Organizations

Anti-Defamation League Pacific Northwest Office Regional Director Miri Cypers:  “The Washington Hate and Bias Incident Hotline will be a critical tool in collecting data and helping victims navigate their options. We look forward to partnering with the Attorney General’s Office, Hotline and impacted communities to ensure that all communities are heard while scaling toward a full implementation in the coming years.”

Council on American Islamic Relations Washington Executive Director Imraan Siddiqi: “We are thankful for another resource in our state that addresses the concerning tide of bias-related incidents. This will provide yet another outlet for marginalized communities to seek assistance and report incidents as they happen, to ensure a more just and accountable society.”

Khalsa Gurmat Center Executive Director Jasmit Singh: “As a Sikh community organization dedicated to equality, justice, and compassion, we recognize the importance of establishing a hate crime hotline. Such a resource is not only a lifeline for victims but also provides important information and direction in a time of crisis. We must create a safe and accessible channel for reporting hate crimes and bias incidents, ensuring that all individuals, especially those from marginalized communities, feel protected and supported. The establishment of this hotline is a crucial step toward fostering a more inclusive and just society for all.”

Ferguson’s work to combat hate crimes

Ferguson convened the Multidisciplinary Hate Crimes Advisory Working Group in 2019 with the goal of developing strategies to raise awareness of hate crimes and enhance law enforcement and the public’s responses to hate crimes and incidents. The group was created by House Bill 1732, sponsored by then-Rep. Valdez. Valdez has since joined the Washington State Senate.

The group researched and proposed best practices on how Washington can increase reporting and strengthen responses from law enforcement and prosecutors. The group also researched how to best support victims of hate crimes. The working group released a report detailing its findings in July of 2020.


Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.

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Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov

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