Questioning Bias: Validating a Bias Crime Assessment Tool in California and New Jersey

Who we are and what we are doing 
We are a team of researchers from the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), Rutgers University, University of California Irvine and California State University-Los Angeles. Vera is a non-profit organization that carries out research and works with government and civil society to improve the services people rely on for justice and safety. We are conducting research on bias victimization (sometimes called hate crime) in Los Angeles County and New Jersey.

What we learn during this study will be used to develop an assessment tool that community organizations and law enforcement can use to better identify and serve victims of bias crimes.

Who is paying for the study 
This study is funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). NIJ is the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. NIJ is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science. 

What we’re asking of you 
We are asking for you to take part in a brief 30 minute survey.
Length and location of the study 
The study began in January 2016 and is expected to end by December 2017. At the end of the study we will write articles summarizing the most important things that we learned. You will not be identifiable in any report or document that we write. We will provide information at the conclusion of the study about where the study results may be found. 

You will not be compensated for participation in the survey.

You do not have to participate 
Participation in this study is completely up to you. Your decision to participate or not participate will not result in any special benefit, loss of benefit, or any penalty to you. You may also choose not to answer any questions that you are not comfortable answering. You may withdraw from the study at any time. If you wish to be referred to counseling services, Vera or the host organization will provide you with information about available services.

We will keep what you say private 
The information we collect about you will be kept private and will not be shared with anyone outside the research team. In order to keep your information private, all information collected in the survey will be kept in locked cabinets and on Vera’s secure computer networks. We are trained to protect your information.
There are a limited number of situations when Vera might have to report what you say. However, to do this, we need your permission. It is your right to refuse to consent. We will only include those who agree in the focus group, but we will not tell anyone whether or not you agreed, and there will be no negative consequences for you as a result of your decision. We are asking for your permission to report in these two situations:
  1. If you tell a member of the research team that you are going to harm yourself, we may have to report that information to the authorities, including the police or call someone to get you medical help.
  2. If a member of the research team has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is an abused or maltreated child, we may have to report that information to a child abuse hotline.
If you tell a member of the research team that you are going to commit a crime or that you know someone else is going to commit a crime, we may
For more information about the study or if you have questions, you may contact:
Laura Simich
Research Director, Center on Immigration and Justice
Vera Institute of Justice
233 Broadway 12th Floor
New York, NY 10279-1299
T: (212) 376-3176

Consent to participate in the survey
What you need to know before you decide to participate:
1. You don’t have to do this.
2. Participation includes taking part in a survey.
3. You can refuse to answer questions.
4. You can stop participating at any time.

By participating in the survey following the reading of this information, you have consented/assented to participate in the survey. If you do not agree to these conditions and have decided you do not want to participate in the survey, this is the appropriate time to close out of the survey. We appreciate your willingness to participate.

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