The Crown Prosecution Service has admitted it needs to “raise its game” in prosecuting cases of disability hate crime. It has issued new guidelines for the police, which it said would increase the number of prosecutions.
In an interview with the BBC, Joanna Perry, of the CPS’s equality and diversity unit, said the service could better identify cases in which a crime had been aggravated by hostility towards disabled people.
Her comments were welcomed by Scope, which co-produced a landmark report on the issue in 2008 that found that just 141 disability-related incidents were prosecuted in 2007-8 compared with 778 homophobic incidents and 6,689 racial incidents.
The charity’s director of policy and campaigns, Ruth Scott, said: “This recognition by the Crown Prosecution Service that more needs to be done to tackle disability hate crime is long overdue. Too many disabled people are being denied justice for the crimes committed against them and conviction rates for disability hate crimes are still much lower than other types of hate crime.”
She welcomed the new guidelines for police, saying officers and prosecutors needed “much clearer guidance and training on how to recognise, investigate and prosecute disability hate crimes”.