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We welcome Law Commission Hate Crime consultation

01 October 2013

Disability Rights UK welcomes the Law Commission consultation on the case for extending existing offences, particularly in terms of disability hate crime.

As the leading group involved in disability matters it is clear that we must work with all agencies to implement the proposal that the aggravated offences which currently cover race and religion or belief should be extended to cover disability.

We trust that any change will additionally rectify the lack of clarity as to what is and is not 'public hostility' against disabled people, as this is somewhat confused and is all too often media and society driven. This area needs a good deal of concentrated thought and cooperation with disabled people, DPO's and the Criminal Justice System to ensure it has a satisfactory outcome.

Through our on-going work on third party reporting of incidents facing disabled people we know that existing legislation related to hate crime is fragmentary and piecemeal, which often makes it difficult for victims who wish to bring their case through the criminal justice system. It is therefore vital that guidance on what constitutes a hate crime, the rights of individual victims and the criminal justice procedure is deepened and made more consistent and therefore effective. Disabled people in touch with us demand equality of sentencing, consistent with every other case and also with other types of crimes, such as criminal damage to property or stolen property crimes. 

The consultation has now closed. For more information go to http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/consultations/hate_crime.htm

Disability Rights UK has produced a number of Let's Stop Disability Hate Crime guides which you can download.