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CPS calls for stiffer prosecutions over online hate crimes

The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has said the Crown Prosection Service (CPS) will plan to seek stronger penalties for people perpetrating hate crimes through social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Writing in The Guardian, Saunders said this crackdown is needed as such hatred can lead to extremist crimes similar to what was seen in Charlottesville in the United States, which left one person dead.

The proposal mentions the different types of hate crimes to include racist and religious, disability and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic.

Saunders said: '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 went on to add that as more people spend their lives online, there is a need to protect people who are victims of constant abuse. She concluded that hate crimes committed and experienced online have real-world consequences and can result in physical violence. 

Parent Zone CEO Vicki Shotbolt welcomed the news and said: 'Making sure that crimes that happen online are dealt with as seriously as crimes offline could be a game changer. It’s a strong signal to people who think that because it is digital it doesn’t count to rethink their attitude and their behaviour'.

Read the full proposal by Alison Saunders here.