English Law Commission Report on Hate Crimes
In England, hate crimes are those motivated by hostility based on one of the following personal characteristics of the victim: (1) disability; (2) transgender identity; (3) race; (4) religion; and (5) sexual orientation.
The Commission examined a number of possible changes to existing legislation:
- under enhanced sentencing, the judge declares in open court that the offender’s sentence has been increased because the hate element has made the offence more serious. The Commission proposes that every time enhanced sentencing is applied, this should be recorded on the offender’s criminal record in the Police National Computer
- aggravated offences: right now, accused people can be charged with an aggravated form of the offence if they demonstrated or were motivated by hostility on the basis of race or religion. The aggravated offences carry longer maximum sentences. Before extending the application of aggravated offences to acts motivated by other forms of hostility, the Commission suggests a wider review should be conducted to consider how well the offences currently work and how the criminal justice system can best protect victims of hate crime
- stirring up offences: the Commission looked at creating new offences of stirring up hatred on grounds of disability or transgender identity, but it found that they would rarely, if ever, be prosecuted, and their communicative or deterrent value would therefore be negligible.