At present, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) record as a ‘hate crime’ any crime that is perceived, by the victim or another person, to have been motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

Although police and the CPS record ‘hate crimes’ for all five of these ‘protected characteristics’, the criminal offences that specifically deal with hate crime only cover some of them. If disability hate crime was treated as a specific criminal offense then the judge could impose a tougher sentence.
We said:
Through our work with members and service users, we are being told that disability hate crime is not being treated as seriously as other hate crimes. For example, our Advice Service has worked with people who have reported disability hate crime to the police and have not been taken seriously and have been told that they are ‘crazy’, or ‘mental’ by the police. In another example, in a ‘My Voice Matters’ Debate which we hosted in December 2012, a key topic of conversation was around disability hate crime on public transport, particularly buses, and how that wasn’t being dealt with by the transport providers.
In conclusion, Merton CIL does not understand why there is not currently parity in the way hate crime offences are applied across disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity, race and religion. Merton CIL agrees with the Law Commission’s proposal to extend   ‘aggravated offences’ and ‘stirring up hatred offences’, so there is parity across all five characteristics. We hope that this will result in disability hate crime being taken more seriously and dealt with more effectively in the future.
You can find out more here (link to external website)