Hate crime based on disability in South Africa: Lessons for law reform






When contemplating whether to introduce disability hate crime as a new substantive offence or as a penalty enhancement of existing crimes, legislators should consider the peculiarities of reporting, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes perpetrated against disabled people. This article argues that existing laws on sexual offences, domestic violence, harassment, and unfair discrimination should be strengthened, and research should be conducted to identify the appropriate initiatives to prevent and attend to disability hate crime by and with persons with disabilities. Creating a substantive hate crime based on disability has symbolic value, but should only be considered if the existing challenges to full and meaningful participation by persons with disabilities in investigative and court proceedings are addressed through appropriate procedural accommodations. 


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Author Biography

Willene Holness, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Wilene Holness is a senior lecturer at the School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College campus in Durban. She is Doctorate of Laws candidate at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, focusing on access to justice for persons with intellectual disabilities. As a member of the Navi Pillay Research Group, she conducts human rights and social justice research and advocacy on disability related issues. 






Research articles