Judges in the UK have been instructed to issue harsher punishments for those found guilty of transgender or homophobic “hate crimes.”
The new sentencing guidelines, issued by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales on Wednesday, says offenders found guilty of stirring up hatred should be sentenced to at least six months in prison, the Daily Mail reported this week.
In a press release issued by the statutory body, Mr Justice Julian Goose, of the Council, said the guidelines were designed to ensure the courts have the structure needed to take a “consistent approach when sentencing public order offences.”
“Public order is essential for the safe functioning of society, and the law seeks to protect the public from behaviour which undermines this,” he said.
Yesterday UK Police copped criticism online after Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke, from Cheshire Police, issued a warning that “misgendering” a person or using the wrong pronoun can be a “form of abuse.”
Police in other counties have also in the past urged the public to assist in cracking down, not only on “hate crime” but also “non-crime hate incidents.”
In a statement issued on social media last year, South Yorkshire Police defined a “non-crime hate incident” as “offensive or insulting comments, online, in person, or in writing.”
SYP support staff went on to say that although non-crime hate incidents are not a criminal offence, they can feel like a criminal offence to those affected.
“While non-crime hate incidents may not be criminal offences, they can feel that way to those affected and can sometimes escalate to crimes taking place. We work with partners to try and prevent this,” the department said.
According to the Daily Mail, the Sentencing Council’s instructions, which come into effect January 1, mean transgender hate offences will receive a harsher punishment than burglary.