The term ‘hate crime’ according can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. These aspects of a person’s identity are known as ‘protected characteristics’. A hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property. The perpetrator can also be a friend, carer or acquaintance who exploits their relationship with the victim for financial gain or some other criminal purpose. Hate crime is covered by the following legislation namely sections 28-32 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and sections 145 and 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which also allows prosecutors to apply for an uplift in sentence for those convicted of a hate crime.
The police and the CPS have agreed the following definition for identifying and flagging hate crimes:
“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 race or perceived race or religion or perceived religion or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity.”