Sentences for homophobic assault

The Criminal Justice System does not charge an offence of criminal homophobic assault as such. However, it ensures that where an assault involving, or was motivated by, hostility or prejudice based on disability or sexual orientation (actual or perceived) the judge is required to:

  • treat this as an aggravating factor, and
  • state in an open court any extra elements of the sentence that they are giving for the aggravation.

Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 requires the courts to
consider sexual orientation (or disability) hostility as an aggravating factor when deciding on the sentence for any offence. This section applies where the court is considering the seriousness of an offence committed in any of the following circumstances:
That, at the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or
after doing so, the offender demonstrated towards the victim of the offence hostility based on – 

  • the Sexual orientation ( or presumed sexual orientation) of the victim, 
  • Or a disability (or presumed disability) of the victim 

OR that the offence is motivated (wholly or partly) – 

  • by hostility towards persons who are of a particular sexual orientation of the victim
  • Or by hostility towards persons who have a disability or a particula disability.

The court must treat the fact that the offence was committed in any of
those circumstances as an aggravating factor, and must state that finding in open court.

Click here to download CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime.

Click here to download CPS Guidance on Prosecuting Cases of Homophobic and Transphobic Crime.

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