Disability Hate Crime and the Law
Disability Hate Crime and the law
In April 2005 the law was amended by Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA). This marked the first time that disability hate crime was recognised by the criminal justice system. Whilst Section 146 does not create a new offence, it does imposes a duty on the courts to increase the sentence for any offence aggravated by hostility towards the victim based on their impairment.
The victim, a third party, or the police, can raise hostility as an aggravating factor; although police and prosecutors stress that there must be evidence to support the perception. Once that possibility has been raised, the crime can be flagged as a potential hate crime and investigated as such (CPS, 2007).