The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has launched new Public Policy Statements on Hate Crime and put them to a public consultation. The statements focus on crimes against disabled people, racial and religious and homophobic and transphobic hate crime.
The policy contains a definition of what constitutes a disability hate crime: Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's disability or perceived disability.
In addition, the policy contains a section on internet and social media – where legislation and policy has previously not kept pace with the development of the technology.
The consultation is open until January 9, 2017 and all people with an interest – including people with disabilities, their families, professionals and others, are being encouraged to take part.
The CPS has also produced two leaflets on hate crime. The first, Hate Crime - what it is and what to do about it, is primarily aimed at victims and witnesses, and is a short guide about hate crime; what it is, what you can do about it and who can help.
The second, Hate Crime - what it is and how to support victims and witnesses, is a guide is about hate crime and how to help those who may be victims of this. It is designed for people working in voluntary organisations, as well as frontline staff in health, housing or social welfare, or anyone who might be the first to hear about an incident.
Easy Read versions of the guidelines will also be available shortly.
Director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, added: “This month marks the 30th anniversary of the CPS and this latest guidance shows how much the nature of our prosecutions has changed in that time. We are constantly working to ensure that our guidance stays relevant to modern crime and consultations are a crucial part of that process.
“We welcome the comments and opinions of communities and those affected by hate crimes to help us inform the way we deal with such cases in the future.
“Our latest Hate Crime Report showed that in 2015-16 more hate crime prosecutions were completed than ever before. More than four in five prosecuted hate crimes result in a conviction; with over 73% guilty pleas, which is good news for victims. We have undertaken considerable steps to improve our prosecution of hate crime and we are committed to sustaining these efforts."
The consultation can be viewed here.
To view the leaflets, click here.