Offence of hate crime – sexual orientation across UK

Offence of hate crime – sexual orientation across UK

When was protection from sexual orientation hate crime introduced?

Protection from hate crime for LGBT people has followed on behind protections on more established grounds, such as sex and race. LGBT people experience high levels of hate crime. It has taken years and much campaigning for the law to do something about this.


The Criminal Justice Act 2003 came into force in April 2005. The Act instructed courts to recognise hostility at the time of an offence. That included hostility to someone of a particular sexual orientation or who is transgender.


What are hate crimes?

Hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. Until 2005 if a person was attacked for being lesbian, gay or bisexual or because the attacker thought they were lesbian, gay or bisexual then it was treated like any other crime.


Is hate crime an offence?

There are no specific offences of homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate crime. Instead, the people who commit crimes are arrested and/or charged depending on the nature of the offence.. For example, if you were assaulted by someone because you are a lesbian woman, they would be arrested and/or charged with the offence of assault.


How does hate crime affect sentencing?

Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act allows an increase in the penalties for homophobic and biphobic hate crimes. An offence can be ‘aggravated’ by having a hate element. The motivation of hate, based on actual or perceived sexual orientation identity is considered during sentencing. The possibility of an increase in punishment for a transphobic hate crime was not included in the Act.


What is the National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership?

The National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership brings together 35 LGBT organisations from across England, Wales and Scotland. The project is run by the LGBT partnership on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).


The project members want to let LGBT+ people know that the law is there to protect them. The members work with the police and government. This is to make sure they support people in the best way possible if they report an incident

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