People who murder disabled or transgender people in hate crime
attacks will face life sentences with a starting point of 30 years,
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke announced today.
The Ministry of Justice plans to amend the Criminal Justice Act
2003 so that murders motivated by hatred or hostility towards
disabled or transgender victims will have the same starting point
as for murders aggravated by race, religion and sexual
This will double the current starting point for disability and
transgender hate crime murders.
The Act will also be updated so that where any offence is shown to
be motivated by hostility towards the victim on the grounds of
transgender, as well as race, religion, sexual orientation, and
disability, sentences must be made more severe. This will mean all
five monitored strands of hate crime will be reflected equally in
Mr Clarke said: "Hate crimes are abhorrent, they leave sections of
society living in fear and at risk of unprovoked violence. The
courts already treat all hate crime seriously and aggravate
sentences accordingly. These proposals make clear offenders should
be in no doubt that they face a more severe sentence for these
The announcement has been made alongside the publication of the
Government's Transgender Action Plan today.
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: "There is no excuse
for any form of hate crime and that is why we are strengthening the
law to protect all those at particular risk of unprovoked
"These plans send out a strong message to victims and
perpetrators. Hate crimes against transgender and disabled people
will be treated seriously and offenders will face the full force of
The changes will be made as part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and
Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill currently progressing through
Parliament. Amendments covering the new changes will be brought
forward at Lords Committee stage.
However, writer Jane Fae says the proof will be in the
"Today's announcement of a national initiative to protect the
transgender community and build on existing rights - combined with
greater penalties for transphobic hate crimes - is likely to be
broadly welcomed: but the real proof will be in what is eventually
"The past record of governments, both Labour and Conservative, has
been patchy, with much promised - and the execution not quite
matching up to that promise.
"This time, it is likely the community will be looking to hold
government to those promises."
Fae also welcomed moves by the Ministry of Justice to double the
penalty for transpghobic hate crimes. She said: "Members of
the trans community are frequently targets of vicious and
violent hate crimes. This move sends a clear message to