SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Victims of hate crimes will now be able to seek greater financial compensation from their assailants thanks to a new law sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, which took effect this week.
“I was horrified by the acts of violence committed be Neo-Nazis this past year in Charlottesville, and I am deeply disturbed by the rise in extremism across our country,” Burke said. “This new law is about sending a message that we will stand up in support of our neighbors and not allow acts of violence and discrimination to go unpunished in Illinois.”
The Burke-supported House Bill 2390 allows police and prosecutors to charge criminals who target the grounds and exterior of religious institutions with a hate crime. Her measure also requires community service ordered following a conviction to be performed in the county where the offender was convicted of the crime. Individuals convicted of committing hate crimes must attend in-person educational classes focused on discouraging hate crimes against the targeted group.
The new law also gives judges the ability to determine if the offender must financially owe the victim to address damage. Parents and legal guardians would also be financially responsible for crimes committed by minors.
“We are not born with hate in our heart,” Burke said. “It’s important that those who commit these heinous crimes understand the pain they cause their victims and to learn that it’s unacceptable to act in this manner. By requiring education and teaching these important lessons, we can hopefully change hearts and minds.”