Online hate crimes should be treated as seriously as abuse committed face-to-face, prosecutors in England and Wales have been told.
Revising its guidance for prosecutors, the Crown Prosecution Service said the impact of tweeting abuse can be as “equally devastating” as shouting it.
The guidance includes offences against bisexual people for the first time.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said online abuse can fuel “dangerous hostility”.
A hate crime is an offence motivated by a “hostility or prejudice”, including racism, sexism or homophobia.
Writing in the Guardian, Ms Saunders said recent events in the US – where white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters in Charlottesville – showed what online abuse can lead to.
“Whether shouted in their face on the street, daubed on their wall or tweeted into their living room, the impact of hateful abuse on a victim can be equally devastating,” she said.
She said the internet and social media in particular have provided “new platforms” for abuse.
In December 2014, Scotland’s Crown Office issued similar prosecution guidance, saying “if it would be illegal to say it on the street, it is illegal to say it online”.
‘Not just words’
Love Island contestant Olivia Attwood told the Victoria Derbyshire programme: “There are things I look at and I think ‘is this normal? Are you just meant to see this and just pretend you haven’t seen it?'”
Labour councillor Seyi Akiwowo received a tirade of racist and gender-based slurs in February 2017. She was called the N-word and “a monkey”.
Ms Akiwowo told BBC Radio London: “They’re not just words. They actually echo the behaviour we don’t tolerate in society so we shouldn’t start thinking its OK to say on any platform, on social media and the internet.
“There needs to be a big campaign about proper conduct online…[and] about what you can do as a witness.
“You wouldn’t be a bystander to a crime in society. If we saw someone being mugged, or being abused we wouldn’t stand back we would try and intervene in some way.”
The CPS says it has set out more clearly what victims and witnesses should expect from the law.
The new legal guidance and accompanying CPS public statements guide prosecutors deciding whether to charge suspects of offences motivated by hostility towards people of different races, religions, sexuality, gender and disability.
Cases should be pursued with the same “robust and proactive approach used with offline offending”.
It says exceptions to prosecution should be made in the case of children who may not appreciate the potential harm they have caused by publishing something online that amounts to a hate crime.
Until now, CPS guidance on hate crime motivated by sexual orientation has had a general focus on all victims.
The new guidance specifically refers to bisexual victims, particularly if they report being victimised by gay men or lesbians.
By Dominic Casciani, home affairs correspondent
Hate crime is any criminal offence “which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice”.
The difficulty is working out where the line is drawn between that and words that are simply offensive.
Obvious examples are words linked to violence – such as the racially-aggravated threat made by an aristocrat on Facebook against businesswoman Gina Miller.
Other online abuse can amount to harassment or the crime of inciting hatred.
Campaigners say too many charging decisions based on existing guidance have landed on the wrong side of the line, leaving victims let down.
If the CPS is serious about getting tough with online hate crime, they say there needs to be more than a change in guidance – there needs to be a change in will.
According to the latest figures, the CPS successfully prosecuted more than 15,000 hate crime incidents in 2015-16 – the highest number ever. A third of those convicted saw their sentence increased because of the hate crime element of the offence – also a record.
However, in the same year, the number of cases being referred by police to prosecutors for a decision fell by almost 10%.
Nik Noone, chief executive of Galop, a charity that campaigns against anti-LGBT violence and hate crime, said its own research suggested many victims did not have confidence in the police to report online hate attacks.
“The threshold for prosecuting online hate crime is very high, and the investigative process is often too slow and cumbersome to respond to the fast-moving online world,” she said.
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:
- WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971
- Send pictures/video to
- Upload your pictures / video here
- Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
- Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100
Or use the form below
More From this publisher : HERE
The content you are looking for is not available or you just .... misspelled the url.
No worries I have some free stuff for you .......
Nr 1. You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...
Nr 2. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong. How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.
Nr 3. Special free report . It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...
The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!
Nr 4. Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.
Nr 5. When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !
Nr 6. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!
Nr 7. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!
Nr 8. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!
Nr 9. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.
Nr 10. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.
Nr 11. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.
Nr 12. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)
Nr 13. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.
Nr 14. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?
This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.
Nr 16. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!
Nr 17. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.
Nr 19. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...
Nr 20. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!Use them .... and have fun !