The law recognises five types of hate crimes on the basis of :




*Sexual Orientation

*Transgender identity

Any crime can be prosecuted as a hate crime if the offender has either:

*Demonstrated hostility based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity


*Been motivated by hostility based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity

Someone can be a victim of more than one type of hate crime.

These crimes are covered by legislation (Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and section 66 of the Sentencing Act 2020) which allows prosecutors to apply for an uplift in sentence for those convicted of a hate crime.

The police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) have agreed the following definition for identifying and flagging hate crimes:

“Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person’s disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity.”

There is no legal definition of hostility so the CPS use the everyday understanding of the word which includes ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike.

What’s the role of the CPS in prosecuting hate crime?

The police investigate and obtain evidence to show a crime has been committed.

In hate crime cases this includes gathering evidence that the victim has been targeted because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and/or transgender identity or because of what the offender believes to be their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and/or transgender identity.

The CPS is responsible for deciding which cases go to court. This includes taking a decision on whether there is enough evidence to prosecute a crime as a hate crime.

If an offender pleads not guilty the CPS are responsible for preparing and presenting the case against them at court.

In hate crime cases the CPS is also responsible for asking the courts to increase the sentence that an offender receives – to reflect the fact that the crime they committed was a hate crime.

How are the CPS tackling hate crime and what impact are they having?

At the CPS they recognise how important it is to effectively prosecute hate crimes. Here are some of the things they’re doing to achieve tis.

*They train all their prosecutors on hate crime. They designed the training with the support of their community partners to make sure it accurately reflects the cases their lawyers are likely to be dealing with.

*They quality check their cases regularly. CPS lawyers review each other’s work and provide feedback on both open and closed cases – helping them to learn from each other and deliver the best quality service.

*They hold regular feedback groups locally and nationally. These groups give them the opportunity to review cases with members of the community to understand where they’ve done well and discuss how they could improve. These are particularly important for helping them to improve their communications with victims, witnesses and families.

*They’ve published public policy statements to explain how they prosecute hate crime. These explain the process they go through when prosecuting a hate crime and let victims and witnesses know what they can expect from them.

*They work closely with partners across the criminal justice sector and beyond to help the public understand hate crime and what they can do to tackle it.