Review on Hate Crimes Announced

18th October 2018 Business Crime

Last month the law commission announced that they would be reviewing the definition of what constitutes a hate crime in order to assess whether offences which are motivated by a hatred or prejudice against women should be treated as hate crimes.

The commissioning of this review by the Law commission begun as a result of campaigning by MP Stella Creasy on the Voyeurism Bill last month. There had been calls to include within this bill scope for judges to take into consideration whether misogyny was an aggravating factor when sentencing the new offences and it was as a result of this debate that the Law Commission’s review has come about.

It has since been confirmed that the review will also consider whether crimes against other groups, such as men, the elderly and certain alternative cultures such as Goths should also be included in the definition.

What is the definition of a hate crime?

Hate Crimes are covered in legislation by Section 28 32 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and Sections 145 and 146 of the Criminal Justice Act. The term can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour which has been motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim-s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. This can include:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Intimidation
  • Threats
  • Harassment
  • Assault
  • Damage to Property

What is the punishment for a hate crime?

These types of crimes are aggravated offences which means that they will attract a longer sentence than for similar crimes which were not motivated by hatred in respect of one of the characteristics specified above.

How prevalent is the issue?

Home office data shows a rise of 17% from April 2017 and March 2018, the majority of these incidents being race related. Furthermore, statistics published by the Home Office on 16th October 2018 in respect of religious hate crimes in particular show that the number of offences reported in 2017-2018 has risen by a further 40%. However, some of this rise may be attributable to improvements made by the police in recognising and recording such crimes.

If you or someone you know has been accused of a hate crime, contact or criminal defence team on 03458726666 to discuss.

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Grace O'Driscoll is a Trainee Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Trainee Solicitors department

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