As part of Hate Crime Awareness Week, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) nationally has launched a public consultation and is asking for community views to help shape future policy to improve the response to homophobic and transphobic hate crime.
Steve Hoolohan, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS Wessex (Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Dorset and Wiltshire) said:
“Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime has a huge impact not only on the victim but the wider Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGB and T) Communities, and has no place in our society. We are revisiting our policy on prosecuting these crimes and actively seeking the views of communities to help us shape our policies.
“Over the 12 months up to the end of June 2016, we have prosecuted 82 Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crimes across Wessex, with 92.7% resulting in a conviction, providing the highest conviction rate nationally for a CPS Area for victims of these awful crimes.
“Yesterday a 17-year-old appeared at Southampton Youth Court having pleaded guilty on 16 September 2016, to a number of offences including a section 4A Public Order Act 1986 offence, of causing harassment, alarm and distress to a police officer who he subjected to a tirade of abusive homophobic language following being arrested for other matters. The officer recounted later that the barrage of abuse regarding his sexuality and the threat to find his home address raised serious concerns about his safety outside of work.
“District Judge Calloway indicated that the sentence would be custodial, a 6 month detention and training order. He went on to say that if the offence had not been homophobic the defendant would only have received a youth rehabilitation order, which would not have included a custodial element. This demonstrates the seriousness that all within the Criminal Justice System place on Hate Crime and we hope encourages other victims to come forward and report these crimes with the full knowledge that we will do all we can to support victims and bring justice for them and for communities”.