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Hate Crime

Hate crime is any criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by hostility towards someone based on their disability, race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation:

  • race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality or national origins
  • religion
  • gender or gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • disability
  • age

Find out more about how we prosecute hate crime

CPS launches policy for prosecuting disability hate crime


Disabled people have the right to live free from crime or the fear of crime like the rest of us, said the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, QC, at the launch of the Crown Prosecution Service's policy on prosecuting disability hate crime.

Sir Ken said: "Safety and security and the right to live free from fear and harassment are fundamental human rights. The CPS recognises the wider community impact of disability hate crime where it strikes at disabled people by undermining their sense of safety and security in the community.

"For this reason, we regard disability hate crime as particularly serious. Such crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and hate and they have no place in an open and democratic society.

"Our policy is about people in the CPS - prosecutors, caseworkers, Witness Care Officers - working together and proactively to secure justice for disabled people. It is about making sure that the system works for disabled people and that it doesn't let them down."

In drawing up the policy, the CPS invited representatives of disability organisations to join a steering group, where they could offer their expertise and views, and also consulted with disabled people.

Sir Ken said: "Courts can now pass a higher sentence when we prosecute a case as a disability hate crime.

"If a disabled person has been a victim of crime and that crime has been aggravated by hostility towards their disability, then our prosecutors will work with the police to find evidence of this. If we do, we shall present that evidence in court.

"We need to recognise that when we are dealing with disability hate crime we are often working with victims who come from communities who have very little or no confidence that their case will be dealt with seriously.

"I hope that the launch of this policy, and more importantly our subsequent actions to implement it, will reassure disabled people that if they are victims of hate crime, we will do everything possible to ensure they have equal access to justice."

  1. The Disability Rights Commission's Attitudes and Awareness Survey (2003) revealed that 22 per cent of disabled respondents had experienced harassment in public because of their impairment.
  2. In 2005, the CPS made success on hate crime one of its top internal performance measures for all CPS Areas. Recently, the CPS has secured convictions in nearly 68 per cent of all hate crime cases.
  3. The policy and guidance to prosecutors are available on this website in the Publications/Prosecution Policy and Guidance section
  4. For further information, contact CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8180.
  • An electrician who indecently assaulted a woman in a wheelchair was sentenced to five years for eight charges of indecent assault; seven of the charges related to the woman in the wheelchair.
  • A care worker at an Adult Opportunity Centre, who was well known to the victim - a 41 year old woman with a mental age of seven - pleaded guilty to indecent assaults over several months and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
  • A thief watched a disabled pensioner struggling to get his mobility scooter going - and raided the man's house while he was doing it. The thief, who was on prison licence, stole the victim's DVD player and cash while the pensioner was in his garden shed and then sold the haul to pay a drugs debt. The victim, who had previously lived in bungalow for the elderly, had moved to his new home because his former home had been burgled repeatedly and he had felt safe in his new home. The offence brought back all the feelings he had before and now he no longer felt protected in his new home. The defendant, who has a record for burglary, robbery and supplying hard drugs, was jailed for two years.