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Talking to Children About Hate Crimes

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2019
2 pages

This "tip sheet" from the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center suggests strategies for consideration by adults in providing support and guidance for children in the aftermath of a mass violence incident (MVI) perpetrated under the motivation of hate for those targeted for the MVI.


One suggestion is that before talking to a child about the hate crime, it is important to talk with other adults about one's own reactions to the crime, so that conversations with the child are grounded in one's own constructive coping with the hate crime. Another suggestion is to initiate the conversation with the child under the assumption she/he has some awareness of the MVI. A third suggestion is to ask your child what she/he knows about the MVI and ensure that accurate information is provided. Another suggestion is that the child be encouraged to ask questions after information on the hate crime is provided. This may reveal any fears or concerns the child has. This tip sheet also provides information on common reactions to hate crimes that should be noted and addressed when they appear in the child. Remaining suggestions are to discuss safety with your child; be aware of adult conversations in the child's presence and her/his media exposure; have an open discussion of bias and discrimination with children; and model and discuss with children healthy coping with fear and anger.