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Hate Crime Law in UK to be reviewed

Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 17:46

London: UK`s Law Commission has reportedly decided to review the Hate Crime law as viewed by criminal justice agencies in an attempt to provide fair justice to the victims.

A crime is stated as a hate crime if the victim believes it to have been motivated by hostility or prejudice towards disability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation, Daily Star reports.

The Crime and Disorder Act, defines some crimes such as assault or criminal damage as `aggravated` offences if motivated by racial or religious hatred, but do not include the case for disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Public Order Act covers those who publish material that is intended to stir up hatred against people on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation and does not include disability or gender identity.

According to the report, the provision for disability or gender identity will be analyzed by the Law Commission in order to find whether the law needs to be amended.
Law Commissioner, Professor David Ormerod QC said that reforming the law would bring consistency and will bring legislation to all victims who are targeted because of their disability, gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation.

However, Ormerod QC said that existing legislation for these offences already provides victims with adequate remedies and reforming it could outweigh the benefits.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society (NAS) said that reforming the law would ensure disability hate crimes are punished with the same severity as other hate crimes adding that people with autism have the same rights as any other member of society to lead lives free from fear and violence but there are many incidents of disability related hate crime.

He further advocated the move and said that it is essential to reassess the sentencing guidelines for disability hate crimes, in line with other hate crimes, so that a clear message is sent to perpetrators that such behaviour is not acceptable in 21st century Britain, the report added.

First Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 17:46

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