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Sophie Foundation in hate crime victory

Download Festival police force add subculture category to offence list

The police force that covers the Download festival have responded to campaigning by the Sophie Lancaster Foundation by adding subculture hate crime to their list of offences.

It means that people who are targeted because they’re members of alternative communities will get greater levels of protection in the area.

Laws in England and Wales currently define five hate crime categories – disablity, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation.

Regional forces can add their own and Leicestershire Police are the ninth force to name subculture targeting as an offence under those laws.

It follows campaigning by Sylvia Lancaster OBE, who created the foundation after the murder of daughter Sophie in 2007. She’d been attacked because of her goth clothing.

Sylvia tells the BBC: “It's a wider issue than people realise.

”Alternative subcultures put up with the abuse and intolerance they face, starting from name-calling up to physical abuse.

“Leicestershire is sending out a signal that it will be taken seriously."

Hate crime officer Darren Goddard says: “We are the first force in the region to make these changes. It reflects how seriously we take hate crime, and the commitment Leicestershire Police has to ensure that no-one is targeted because of their appearance."

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