Have you experienced hate crime online?

Online hate crime has been rising. AGENCIES

The CPS announcement is particularly topical in light of the recent violence in Charlottesville in the U.S., and is part of a bigger-picture government push to address hate crime that began last summer.

It follows that hateful language should be policed and prosecuted as vigorously online as on the street, Ms Saunders says.

The Director of Public Prosecutions appeared on talkRADIO this morning to map out her team's new plans to tackle hate crime.

The CPS defines hate crimes as "any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice".

In response to the changing landscape online, prosecutors have been encouraged to "to treat online crime as seriously as offline offenses", and to treat online instances of hate crime with the same "robust and proactive approach used with offline offending".

Saunders says that the new guidelines, along with existing provisions, will offer a better deal to the victims of online abuse and ensuring they have more support and protection - whoever they might be.

The new guidance specifically refers to bisexual victims, particularly if they report being victimised by gay men or lesbians.

The revised documents which provide guidance to criminal prosecutors once police have investigated and prepared a case, cover different strands of hate crime - racist and religious; disability; and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic. "They also let victims and witnesses know what they should expect from us".

The CPS has been increasing its prosecutions of hate crimes, with a record number of over 15,400 for 2015-16, and a conviction rate of more than 80%. Saunders revealed today that prosecutors successfully applied for a sentencing uplift in over half of hate crime cases last year - up from just 4% a few years ago.

The prosecution service said a recent example of this was Viscount Rhodri Philipps who was jailed for 12 weeks in July after offering £5,000 online to the first person that ran over the anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, writing on Facebook that she was a "bloody troublesome first generation immigrant". It's also a call for victims to report any and all forms of hate crime.

"The police find it hard to investigate online hate crime effectively, leading to cases frequently ending in no further action".



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