By Christian Smith
The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed prosecutors to treat online hate crimes as seriously as abuse committed face-to-face.
Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Hate crime has a corrosive effect on our society and that is why it is a priority area for the CPS. It can affect entire communities, forcing people to change their way of life and live in fear.
In a press release, Ms Saunders explained that “hate crime is an offence where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or shows hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.”
The Crown Prosecution Service, CPS, made the announcement today in a new guidance on how it will prosecute hate crime and support victims in England and Wales.
Prosecution services made it known that it will seek tougher sentencing for abuse committed on social media to build public confidence. It claimed that the impact of those who tweet abuse is like those who shout it.
A campaign #HateCrimeMatters has now been launched, following an increased “growth of hate crime perpetrated using social media.”
It means “For the first time, CPS policy will acknowledge that victims of biphobic hate crime have different experiences and needs to victims of homophobic and transphobic offences.
“The CPS recognises it has a responsibility to actively remove barriers to justice for disabled victims and witnesses, ensuring they get the right support to enable them to give their best evidence.”
“These documents take account of the current breadth and context of offending to provide prosecutors with the best possible chance of achieving justice for victims. They also let victims and witnesses know what they should expect from us,” Ms Saunders said.
“I hope that, along with this week’s campaign, they will give people the confidence to come forward and report hate crime, in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously and given the support they need.”