Following a lengthy and comprehensive consultation, to which Stop Hate UK was a significant contributor representing the interests of the people we support, the Law Commission has now published its recommendations on Hate Crime legislation.
We are delighted that the Law Commission has recognised that it is undesirable for aggravated offences not to apply equally to hostility based on Hate Crime across the five monitored strands of Disability, Gender Identity, Race, Religion and Sexual Orientation.
Although the Law Commission has not thought it possible to recommend an immediate extension of the aggravated offences to the strands of Disability, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation, we understand the concerns that the current regime is not working effectively, and indeed this is something we raised as part of our consultation response. We therefore acknowledge and support the recommendation that further review of the aggravated offences ought to take place. Stop Hate UK hopes that the Government implements the full-scale review of the operation of aggravated offences and of the enhanced sentencing system that has been called for by the Law Commission.
Stop Hate UK welcomes the Law Commission’s recommendation that the Sentencing Council issue guidance on the approach to sentencing in offences involving hostility, as discussed in our consultation response We also strongly recommended that criminal record documentation ought to make it clear where someone has a previous conviction for an offence in which hostility based on one of the five monitored strands of Hate Crime was present. We are pleased to see that the Law Commission has taken up this stance.
We are disappointed that there is felt to be insufficient evidence at this time to extend the stirring up offences on grounds of Disability and Gender Identity: this is not the feeling of many of the people we speak to on a daily basis. We understand the stringent legal test to be met in order for a conviction for a stirring up offence to be secured but feel that there is a similar argument to be made about equality across the strands, as identified by the Law Commission in respect of the aggravated offences, even if only a limited number of convictions for stirring up offences would result.
Rose Simkins, Chief Executive of Stop Hate UK said today:
“Stop Hate UK believes that at the heart of Hate Crime legislation should be the promotion of equality. We are pleased that the Law Commission’s report reflects a number of the recommendations that Stop Hate UK made during the consultation. We will continue to advance and promote the interests of all those affected by Hate Crime and communities affected by Hate Crime in any further review.”