Prosecutors have pledged to do more to tackle disability hate crime after a drop in the number of convictions.
The total number of hate crime convictions rose by over 1,000 in 2013/14, according a report by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
But convictions for hate crimes against disabled people dropped, prompting the CPS to pledge fresh action.
Director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders acknowledged there was “more to do” to combat such crimes.
A hate crime is a crime committed against someone because of their disability, gender-identity, race, religion or belief, or their sexual orientation.
The overall hate crime conviction rate is part of an ongoing upward trend over the last six years, and almost 85% of hate crime prosecutions now result in a conviction.
Successful convictions for disability hate crime cases during 2013/14 increased from 77.2% to 81.9% – but the number of convictions fell over the year, from 494 to 470.
The report also found that:
- There was an increase in the rate of decisions to charge for disability hate crime, from 72.4% to 80%
- Of the 11,818 racially aggravated cases prosecuted last year, 85.2% resulted in convictions and 75.9% of those convictions led to guilty pleas
- Some 550 cases involving religiously-aggravated hostility in 2013/14 were prosecuted and 84.2% resulted in a conviction
- The conviction rate for homophobic and transphobic hate crime stood at 80.7% – the proportion of cases resulting in a guilty plea increased from 71.6% to 72.3% in 2013/2014, and there was an increase in the number of guilty pleas over the year from 785 to 819
This year, the Transgender Equality Management Guidance was issued to police along with specific guidance on flagging transphobic hate crime.
Ms Saunders said: “While I’m delighted to see a record high conviction rate and that the rate of cases we are charging is up to 80% from 72.4% last year, we will be working hard with the police to encourage more disability hate crime cases to be referred to us, and we will be really focusing on our handling of these cases through the court system.
“Hate crimes can be particularly devastating to victims who have been targeted simply because of their race, their religion, their sexuality, gender, disability or age.
“These crimes display an ugly element of our society and one which it is very important that police and prosecutors feel empowered to tackle so they can bring offenders to justice.”
Stephen Brookes, of the Disability Hate Crime Network, said action on the issue was “still miles away from where we should be” and that there had been a failure “at all levels” to give disabled people confidence in the judicial system.
“There is a new working party needed to look in some detail at aspects of reporting, charging and sentencing of disability hate crime, at a time when we have a wake up call to the whole criminal justice system to step up the need to increase the number of prosecutions to reflect the seriousness of attacking all disabled people.”
James Taylor, head of policy at charity Stonewall, said there was still “much work to do” on hate crimes.
“In the last three years alone 630,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual people have been the victim of a homophobic hate crime or incident.
“It’s shocking that in 2014, lesbian, gay and bisexual people still face violence and intimidation simply for who they are on our streets, in our communities and on our sports fields.”
MPs are set to hold an inquiry into benefit sanctions after 200,000 people signed a petition in the wake of an ex-soldier’s death.
More than 211,000 people signed a Change.org petition started by Gill Thompson calling for an inquiry into benefit sanctions after diabetic David Clapson, 59, was found dead in his home.
Gill’s three-month campaign called for an independent inquiry into benefit sanctions – which refers to occasions that money is withheld from claimants if they fail to meet the terms agreed.
The Work and Pensions cross-party select committee has now agreed and its inquiry into benefit sanctions is due to start early next year. It is expected to be completed shortly before the General Election in May.
Originally posted on Ann McGauran:
In a long essay in yesterday’s Guardian, John Gray notes that our leaders talk frequently about conquering the forces of evil – for example when Barak Obama vows to destroy ISIS’s ‘brand of evil’. But he believes that this rhetoric illuminates a failure to accept that cruelty and conflict are basic human traits.
John Gray’s essay – I urge you to read it here - refers us back to an ‘old-fashioned understanding’ that is ‘a central insight of western religion’, as well as Greek tragic drama and the work of the Roman historians that ‘evil is a propensity to destructive and self-destructive behaviour that is humanly universal’. He adds: ‘The restraints of morality exist to curb this innate human frailty; but morality is a fragile artifice that regularly breaks down. Dealing with evil requires an acceptance that it never goes away.’
His essay continues: ‘When large populations collude with repressive…
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Originally posted on Pride's Purge:
(not satire – it’s the UKIP!)
“Democracy is the stupidest form of government ever conceived.”
“Women are dumber than men and should not be allowed to vote”
“Evolution has ensured that women are not too intelligent”
“The general public should not see the disabled on television” (during the 2012 Summer Paralympics)
“The European Commission building should be turned into a brothel.”
“Gays are a gang of louts imported from abroad.”
Well done Nigel. You’ve just confirmed once and for all every accusation there has ever been of racism, sexism and homophobia against UKIP.
But of course, Farage will get into bed with anyone if £1 million of European Parliament gravy train…
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Readers, I just thought I’d write a quick post to let you know that tomorrow’s final episode of Educating The East End will meet Christopher, a Year 10 student on the autistic spectrum, and explore the autism provision at Frederick Bremer School.
I’ll be watching it, at 9pm on Channel 4, with even more interest than usual.