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Law Commission proposes reforms to protect disabled and LGBT+ victims, and criminalise extremist misogynist ‘incel’ hate material

The Law Commission has recommended that "sex or gender" should not be added to the protected characteristics for aggravated offences and enhanced sentencing as, it says, it would be ineffective at protecting women and girls and, in some cases, counterproductive.

The Commission's recommendation is part of proposed reforms to hate crime legislation to ensure that disabled and LGBT+ victims receive the same protections as victims with other protected characteristics (race and religion). If enacted, the reforms would ensure all five characteristics are protected equally by the law.

The Commission is also making a number of recommendations to protect women and girls. These include extending the offence of stirring up hatred (behaviour that incites others to hate entire groups) to cover sex or gender and has recommended that the government consider the need for a new offence to tackle public sexual harassment.

Whilst enhancing protection for victims of targeted abuse, the Commission has also made a number of recommendations to safeguard freedom of expression and ensure the criminal law is focussed on the most egregious hate speech.

For more details of the proposed reforms, click here.