On-line Hate Crimes are finally to be taken as seriously and Face-to-Face abuse.
The Crown Prosecution Service has announced today that individuals who have been subject to on-line hate crimes can have confidence in knowing that, should they report the abuse, they can expect the same level of robust pursuit of the perpetrator as if they had been confronted face-to-face.
On-line hate crime is reported to be rising, frequently spiking following the episodes of terror attacks. In light of this trend the Crown Prosecution Service has revised its guidance to criminal prosecutors. The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, indicated that the new on-line hate crime guidelines will follow the same approach to that which is applied to off-line offences.
All the different strands of hate-crime, racist, disability, religious, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic, have the same corrosive effect on their victims and has nothing to do with freedom of speech, which some social media platforms use as a defence when they fail to deal with such abuse. Hate crime is a daily reality for many people and often the anonymous on-line vitriol is far greater than that delivered face-to-face. Many individuals hide behind social media platforms believing that they are safe to abuse at long distance without risking any consequences but that is about to change.
Many LBGT individuals suffer from appalling on-line abuse
Social media platforms must address their role in this ever growing crime, it is not only the originators but those who disseminate and facilitate the spread the hatred should also be included in the new drive to stamp out hate crime. In 2015-16, 15,442 prosecutions for hate crime were pursued - a record number. The internet has become the perfect playground for individuals to vent their malice.
Stonewall welcomed the announcement, the director of campaign, Paul Twocock, stated that the LGBT community suffers on a daily basis from on-line abuse; furthermore he commented that such behaviour is increasing across social media.
In the 2016 a survey produced by Galop showed that one in three LGBT people had experienced on-line abuse, with transgender people on the receiving end of 44% of such hate crime followed by 31% of lesbians and 31% of gay men with bisexual people coming in last with 24%. The survey also highlighted the fact that many people felt that reporting such abuse would not be taken seriously.
The message must be clear no victim should suffer in silence and no perpetrator should get away with such a despicable crime.
If you have been subject to a hate on-line crime and want to investigate what can be done about it please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7043 5928