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Hate Crime: Sentencing

Home Office written question – answered on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of sentences for people convicted of hate crime.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

The legal framework for the prosecution of hate crimes in England and Wales includes provisions in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to increase sentences where the offence is found to have been aggravated in relation to hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity. For example, common assault (non-aggravated) carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment, whilst racially or religiously aggravated common assault carries a maximum two years imprisonment. These provisions are clearly highlighted in the relevant sentencing guidelines.

The Government has asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of the legislation related to hate crime, which will report in early 2021. The review is considering parity in the existing legislation and the case for additional characteristics to be protected by legislation. This includes reviewing the current range of specific offences and aggravating factors in sentencing.

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