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What is a hate crime?

A hate crime is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as a criminal offence motivated by prejudice based on a person's disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

A hate crime can take many forms including:

  • Physical assault
  • Damage to property, offensive graffiti and arson
  • Offensive letters
  • Abusive or obscene telephone calls
  • Groups hanging around to intimidate
  • Unfounded, malicious complaints
  • Insults or harassment - taunting, offensive leaflets and posters
  • Abusive gestures
  • Dumping of rubbish outside homes or through letterboxes
  • Bullying at school or in the workplace.

A judge sentencing the killers of Sophie Lancaster, who was beaten to death in Lancashire in 2007, recognised her death as a hate crime because her and her boyfriend were targeted for being goths.

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Should attacks on goths be classed as hate crimes?

News that Great Manchester Police have begun classifying assaults on goths, punks and emos as 'hate crimes' has sparked a debate on Twitter: