'Disability' Added To New 'Hate Crimes' Bill
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 30, 2003
LONDON, ENGLAND--Criminals who victimize people because of their disabilities will face longer sentences under new "hate crimes" legislation announced Thursday.
According to the Guardian news service, the government has proposed an amendment to the criminal justice bill that would add disability and sexual orientation to race and religion as aggravating factors in such crimes.
A statement from the Disability Rights Commission noted that 25 percent of people with disabilities in the United Kingdom experience abuse, and that 90 percent of people with mental disabilities are victims of abuse.
"For too long these devastating crimes have not been recognised in law or treated with the seriousness they deserve by the police, prosecutors or the courts," the statement read.
Last year the Metropolitan police recorded such 98 offenses against people with disabilities. Many experts agree that the numbers of crimes against people with disabilities are grossly under-reported.
Related press statement:
"Government moves to outlaw disability hate crimes welcomed" (Disability Rights Commission)