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Surge in disability hate crime prosecutions

Published 13/07/2016

The number of prosecutions for hate crimes against disabled people has risen by more than 40 per cent
The number of prosecutions for hate crimes against disabled people has risen by more than 40 per cent
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders says hate crimes will not be ignored

The number of prosecutions for hate crimes against disabled people has surged by 41.3% in the last year.

In 2015-16 there were 941 prosecutions for disability hate crimes.

The rise is part of an increase in the number of all hate crimes pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which rose by 4.8%.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said the increases showed that hate crimes "will not be ignored".

Figures released by the CPS in the eighth Hate Crime Report also show that there were 1,469 prosecutions for homophobic and transphobic crime in 2015/16 - a rise of 15% on the previous year.

Over the same period, there were 13,032 prosecutions for racially and religiously aggravated hate crime, which make up 84% of all hate crime prosecutions, in 2015/16 - a rise of 1.9%.

"My message is that a hate crime is exactly that - a crime - and will not be ignored," Mrs Saunders said.

"This report shows that more of these incidents are being recognised as hate crimes, so they are reported, investigated and prosecuted as such.

"It is important that this trend continues and no one should simply think that this abuse - on or offline - will be dismissed or ignored.

"More than four in five prosecuted hate crimes result in a conviction, which is good news for victims.

"Over 73% are guilty pleas - this means that more defendants are pleading guilty due to the strength of the evidence and prosecution case, so victims do not have to go through the process of a trial."

The CPS also announced that it would engage more closely with community partners and would be updating the legal guidance for each strand of hate crime.

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