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Frequently Asked Questions

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CRS is an agency within DOJ that is congressionally mandated by Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to assist communities in resolving conflicts based on race, color, and national origin. Under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, CRS’s mandate was expanded to work with communities to prevent and respond to alleged hate crimes committed on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. CRS is not an investigatory or prosecutorial agency and does not have any law enforcement authority. All CRS services are confidential and provided on a voluntary basis, free of charge to the communities.

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To accomplish its mission, CRS provides four services: facilitated dialogue, mediation, training, and consultation. These services help communities enhance their ability to alleviate tension, resolve disputes, and prevent future conflicts more effectively. CRS’s services are an integral part of the community programs and forums we offer. These programs and forums provide the community a place to discuss and confront issues underlying the conflict and tensions within their community based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability.

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CRS's services are provided by highly trained, impartial conflict resolution experts, known as Conciliation Specialists, who are based in 14 offices across the country. CRS's services can be provided, as requested, on a 24-hour basis. In each incident, CRS first assesses the situation by determining what tensions or issues may be present in a community. This often includes meeting face-to-face with the affected community groups. After gaining an in-depth understanding of the situation, and establishing whether CRS has jurisdiction, CRS works with the parties to determine the actions or services necessary. CRS provides services which fall into four categories — facilitated dialogue, mediation, training, and consultation — with the goal of helping communities alleviate tensions, resolve disputes, and prevent future conflicts more effectively.

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Typically, local officials or community leaders request CRS’s services by contacting the regional office that supports their state; however, any community member can request CRS’s services. Contact information for the regional offices can be found here. On its own volition, CRS may also reach out to communities in conflict and offer services; however, communities may decline CRS's services at any time.

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Most of the work CRS performs involves situations where there is racial conflict or violence involving law enforcement, schools, or communities struggling to recover in the aftermath of an alleged violent hate crime committed on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Often, the most volatile situations CRS responds to are negative reactions to incidents involving allegations of police use of force, the staging of major demonstrations and counter events, major school disruptions, and hate crime activities.

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CRS works in all 50 states and United States territories. It assists communities large, small, rural, suburban, and urban. Much of CRS’s work stems from requests by local law enforcement, community leaders, school administrators, civil rights organizations, religious and tribal leaders, government officials, and other local and state authorities.