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Disability hate crimes

Hostility based on a victim's disability is an aggravating factor when sentencing a person for a criminal offence.

Where someone is found guilty of committing a criminal offence, hostility towards the victim because of their disability is an aggravating factor in deciding their sentence. In other words, it will tend to increase the sentence given by the court.

This is stated in Criminal Justice Act 2003 section 146 (link to legislation.gov.uk). 'Disability' is widely defined as 'any physical or mental impairment'. Also it includes 'presumed' as well as actual disability.

Section 146 is not relevant to claims under the Equality Act 2010. It applies only where someone is being sentenced for a criminal offence, for example assault. Another example where s.146 could apply would be a 'hate speech' offence such as:


Law Commission review

As from late 2012, the Law Commission is conducting a review to look at:

See Hate crime: review of aggravated offences and stirring up of hatred offences (Iink to lawcommission.justice.gov.uk).;

Further links

European Convention aspect

In some cases, a government may be liable under the European Convention on Human Rights if it fails to take effective action against abuse and harassment of a disabled person by members of the public. See the case of Dordevic v Croatia (July 2012): Scope of European Convention rights: Inhuman or degrading treatment: Article 3.


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Last updated 27th April 2013