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Attacks On Goths, Emos and Punks To Be Classed As Hate Crime By Greater Manchester Police

04/04/2013 07:47 | Updated 04 April 2013

A police force has become the first in the country to record attacks on goths, emos and punks as hate crimes.

Abuse towards alternative subcultures will be classed in the same way as those based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

The historic move was welcomed by the mother of teenager Sophie Lancaster, who was kicked to death in Bacup, Lancashire in 2007 because she was dressed like a goth.

sylvia lancaster

Sylvia Lancaster is campaigning for hate crime reclassification

Sylvia Lancaster, who is campaigning for the change, told the BBC's Today programme: "It's a validation of the work we have been doing over the last five-and-a-half years."

She said she thought some people were born with a "propensity" towards dressing in the styles of goths, saying these were often the "more creative in society."

But Lord McDonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, said he would be "cautious" about expanding the definition.

Garry Shewan, Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police said: "People who wish to express their alternative sub-culture identity freely should not have to tolerate hate crime."

A police spokesman said: "From April 2013 Greater Manchester Police also now records alternative sub-culture related hate crime.

"We have done this following work we have carried out in partnership with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, as we feel that adding this extra category of hate crime will help us better understand how some people are suffering from crimes because of their appearance, and better respond to the needs of victims of crime.

Miss Lancaster, 20, was kicked and stamped to death because she was dressed as a goth in a park in Bacup in August 2007. She slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness.

The foundation is campaigning to get hate crimes laws expanded to include "alternative subcultures or lifestyle and dress" and has gained support from musicians including Gary Numan and Courtney Love.

There are no immediate plans to change the national hate crimes register, but last year Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone acknowledged that the five recognized categories of hate crime was "an incomplete list".

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