Disabled people are set to benefit from a new policy to tackle hate crime unveiled by the government yesterday.
Director of public prosecutions Ken McDonald announced the launch of a new Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) policy on taking action against disability hate crime.
Developed by the CPS and representatives from disability organisations, who had consulted with disabled people, the new measures enable courts to pass higher sentences for disability hate crimes.
Sir Ken said: "Safety and security and the right to live free from fear and harassment are fundamental human rights.
"The CPS recognises the wider community impact of disability hate crime where it strikes at disabled people by undermining their sense of safety and security in the community."
He added: "If a disabled person has been a victim of crime and that crime has been aggravated by hostility towards their disability, then our prosecutors will work with the police to find evidence of this.
"If we do, we shall present that evidence in court."
The policy comes after the Disability Rights Commission's attitudes and awareness survey 2003 found that 22 per cent of disabled respondents been subject to harassment because of their impairment.