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Government proposal to raise the starting point of sentences for murders motivated by disability to 30 years
Wednesday 09 November 2011
The Government has proposed an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. Changes to the law would mean that murders motivated by hatred or hostility towards disabled or transgender victims will have the same sentencing starting point of 30 years as those aggravated by race, religion and sexual orientation.
David Congdon, Mencap head of campaigns and policy, said:
Mencap welcomes the Government’s decision to bring sentencing for disability motivated murders in line with those aggravated by race, religion or sexual-orientation. By recognising this anomaly in sentencing, and taking steps to address it, we will move one step closer towards ending disability hate crime.
However, there is still some way to go before all disability hate crime cases are treated equally in law and more must be done to ensure that criminal justice professionals do all they can to make disability hate crime a priority. There are 10 million disabled people in the UK, yet only 1,200 cases of hate crime have been prosecuted over a four year period, compared to almost 50,000 racist and religiously motivated crimes. We know that this does not reflect the many reports of disabled people experiencing hostility, aggression and violence in their day to day lives.
We hope to work with judges, the police, the Criminal Prosecution Service and other authorities to ensure that the way disability hate crime is recorded, investigated, charged and sentenced, inspires confidence in the system.
For more information please contact Eleanor Bradstreet on 0207 696 6937 or email Eleanor.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
- About Stand by me
Mencap launched a three-year campaign against disability hate crime in June 2011. The Stand by me campaign will challenge the police, the criminal justice system and the courts to take a lead in ending hate crime against people with a learning disability within a generation. To find out more visit www.mencap.org.uk.
- About Mencap
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
We are also one of the largest providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. People with a learning disability and their carers can find out more about our services by calling Mencap Direct on 0300 333 111 or by visiting www.mencap.org.uk.
- About learning disability
A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong and affects someone's intellectual and social development. It used to be called mental handicap but this term is outdated and offensive. Learning disability is NOT a mental illness.
The term learning difficulty is often incorrectly used interchangeably with learning disability.