Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

Notify the PHRC about Civil Tension or Conflict

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) does not charge or investigate hate crimes or criminal offenses. However, the PHRC does track incidents reported to us and can help determine if the incident also violates the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. 

Hate crime information

In Pennsylvania, a hate crime is defined as a criminal act motivated by ill will or hatred toward a victim's race, color, religion, or national origin.

How can the PHRC help if you have experienced incidents of civil tension?

The PHRC does not charge or investigate hate crimes or criminal offenses. However, we do track incidents reported to us to inform the Pennsylvania Interagency Task Force on Community Activities and Relations, which is a group of state agencies that:

  • Work to prevent and respond to civil tension and violence arising from conflicts between ethnic or cultural groups and when there are public expressions of bias or hate.
  • Quickly and appropriately address civil tension when conflicts occur.
  • Promote positive community relations among various groups to prevent tension.

The PHRC Civil Rights Outreach Division is also available to provides complex faciliation and conflict resolution services. If you report an incdent and it does not lead to an investigation, you may still be able to receive support from the Civil Rights Outreach Division, which specializies in building customized community de-escalation plans. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Immediately call 911 if:

  • The incident is happening now or just happened.

Contact your local police department or Pennsylvania State Police station if:

  • The incident has already occurred.
  • The immediate danger may be over.
  • There were no injuries.

What to report:

  • Ask the officer(s) to make note of it in their report if you believe the incident was motivated by your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or disability.
  • Give the officer(s) the exact wording of what was said, regardless of how offensive it is, if the hate was expressed in words.
  • Point out any witness(es) of the incident to the officer(s).

You should also report hate crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security

A possible hate crime can include, but is not limited to, the following examples:

  • Harassment (in person or electronically)
  • Physical assault
  • Destruction of property
  • Criminal trespass
  • Arson or firebombing
  • Terroristic threats

  • Acts of civil tension should be reported to the PHRC regional office where intake personnel will discuss rights to file a complaint and jurisdiction. If the issue cannot be investigated via a formal complaint with the PHRC, it will be reported to the Civil Rights Outreach Division for consideration.
  • The Civil Rights Outreach Division will review the information collected and will respond with additional resources and options.
  • It is important that correct contact information be provided so that additional follow up can be conducted.

Contact the PHRC

If you have questions about reporting a recent incident of civil tension or conflict, call or email us.

Call the PHRC


Contact the PHRC regional office closest to you

Contact the PHRC regional office closest to you

Fill out a contact us form

Fill out a contact us form

Email the PHRC