Defending Your Rights
The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau protects the civil rights of all Illinois residents. The Bureau enforces civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination, works to strengthen the civil rights laws, and participates in community outreach programs. The Bureau also investigates complaints of patterns and practices of discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment, and financial matters.
The Attorney General encourages individuals to contact the office to report hate crimes and instances of discrimination or harassment by submitting a complaint using the links below. If you have questions, you may email the Civil Rights Bureau staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692. Please be advised that the Office of the Attorney General is taking measures to address both our obligation to serve the public and the State of Illinois and our concern for the well-being of our employees and the general public health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our offices across the state are open, but operating with reduced staff. This may mean that responses to your complaints, email, and telephone calls may be delayed. The office appreciates your patience during this time.
Letter Addressing Local Public Officials’ Safety Concerns over Anti-LGBTQ+ Violence and Harassment
Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Department of Human Rights Director Jim Bennett issued a letter on December 22, 2022, addressing safety concerns from public officials after recent incidents of anti-LBGTQ+ violence, harassment and threats directed toward public officials and community members. The letter and its appendix highlight statutory and constitutional obligations and also encourages public officials to work with law enforcement to monitor and address safety concerns. Some public officials may have faced threats or harassment concerning LGBTQ+ events or have been pressured to deny LGBTQ+ events due to fears of civil disturbance or public safety concerns. However, public officials must also ensure targeted groups are not penalized or excluded from public spaces. Illinois has clear non-discrimination policies to protect and safeguard LGBTQ+ Illinoisans in public spaces.
AG Raoul Letter on Non-Discrimination in Public Spaces
Resources to Address Discrimination in Public Spaces
School Discipline Guidance
The Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois State Board of Education (“ISBE”) jointly issued guidance to public K-12 school districts in Illinois regarding legal standards and enforcement of civil rights laws related to school discipline. The guidance is a resource to schools regarding their obligations under state and federal civil rights laws to administer student discipline policies without discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other protected characteristics.
The Attorney General’s Office is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Illinois residents, including students’ rights to full and equal access to school services and facilities. The Attorney General’s Office encourages all schools to consider this guidance as they undertake their annual review of their discipline policies and the implementation of those policies.
Hate Crimes Guidance
The Attorney General’s Office issued guidance to state, county and local law enforcement agencies as well as advocacy organizations about a new, stronger hate crimes law in Illinois that will better protect Illinois residents from hate crimes.
The Hate Crimes Guidance is a resource for Illinois law enforcement agencies as well as advocacy organizations about the specific changes to the state’s hate crimes law. The new law expands the list of crimes that can be prosecuted as hate crimes in an effort to address the increasing use of technology to attack victims. Specifically, the new law adds the crimes of stalking, cyberstalking, transmission of obscene messages, and certain acts of intimidation to the list of crimes that can be charged and prosecuted as hate crimes. The law also ensures that victims of hate crimes have the ability to file a civil lawsuit in response to any hate crime and permits a judge to impose significant civil penalties on the perpetrator. It further permits the Attorney General to bring civil hate crime claims after consulting with local prosecutors and seek injunctions and civil penalties against perpetrators.
Hate Crimes Complaint Form (PDF Chinese Traditional) (PDF Chinese Simplified)
Hate Crimes Fact Sheet and Resources
Hate Crimes Fact Sheet (En español) (Chinese Traditional)
Law Enforcement Guidance & Reporting on Compliance with the Illinois TRUST Act and VOICES Act
The Way Forward Act, which became law in Illinois in August 2021, amended two existing state laws to add additional requirements and protections for immigrant communities: the Illinois TRUST Act and the Voices of Immigration Communities Empowering Survivors (“VOICES”) Act. The TRUST Act generally prohibits local law enforcement in Illinois from participating in immigration enforcement. The VOICES Act provides procedural protections for immigrants victimized by violent crime or human trafficking who have assisted law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting certain types of crimes.
The Attorney General’s office has issued updated guidance to law enforcement agencies to provide an overview of Illinois laws that govern law enforcement interactions with immigrant communities, including the TRUST Act and the VOICES Act. The guidance clarifies the restrictions on participation in immigration enforcement by state and local law enforcement in Illinois, and reminds law enforcement of certain legal obligations to assist foreign nationals and immigrant victims of crimes.
Under the amended laws, state, county and local law enforcement agencies in Illinois must also submit annual reports to the Attorney General’s Office regarding their compliance with the TRUST Act and the VOICES Act.
Law enforcement agencies must collect required information on a calendar year basis and submit it annually by March 1 of each year for information covering the preceding calendar year. For example, information regarding calendar year 2022 (January 1 through December 31) must be reported by March 1, 2023.
Law enforcement agencies should use the links below to download the updated guidance, instructions on reporting to the Attorney General’s office, and the template spreadsheet for submitting reports.
Guidance to Law Enforcement: Illinois Laws Governing Law Enforcement Interactions with Immigrant Communities
Instructions for Law Enforcement Agencies on Reporting
Template Spreadsheet for Law Enforcement Agencies to Report to the Attorney General’s Office
Questions regarding the annual reporting requirements may be directed to LEA.Reports@ilag.gov by using the subject line: “Question About Reporting.”.
Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act
In 2015, the Attorney General’s Office led the effort to pass the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. Under this law, public and private colleges and universities in Illinois must meet several requirements aimed at raising awareness about and addressing campus sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
These requirements include:
All Illinois colleges and universities are required to submit their annual report by November 1 of each year. The Attorney General’s Office is required to post on its website a list of all colleges and universities that fail to comply with reporting requirements defined by the law.
The compliance lists for each reporting year indicate which Illinois higher education institutions have provided a full report, those that have provided incomplete reports and those that have failed to submit a report entirely. These lists only address compliance with the Act’s requirement that each school submit an annual report. The list should not be construed as providing an opinion or analysis about the contents of a school’s report or a school’s degree of compliance with the Act as a whole.
2021 School Report Compliance as of July, 2022.
Use the links below to download additional resource materials related to the law, including FAQs, a reporting form template and a fact sheet.
Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Ed Act
The Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act Brochure
Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act Annual Report Template
Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act (FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions
For questions about the law or the reports, please contact Attorney General Raoul’s Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692.
Civil Rights Links and Documents:
Civil Rights Bureau Brochure
Civil Rights Fact Sheet (Español)
Civil Rights Fact Sheet (Polish)
Know Your Rights (mobile version) (printable pocket-sized guide)
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
HUD's Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity Office
Fair Housing Laws & Presidential Executive Orders
Civil Rights Bureau Contact Information
Civil Rights Bureau