LONDON (Reuters) - Online abuse will be treated as seriously as offline offences, Britain's prosecution service said on Monday (Aug 21) in new guidance on handling hate crimes.
The rules - which include guidelines on helping disabled and bisexual victims - are meant to encourage more people to come forward and press courts to impose longer sentences, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
"This is a crime that's under-reported. Sometimes, people feel that they just have to put up with it... That's absolutely not the case," director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders told the BBC.
The new advice is in response to the growth of social media, the CPS said. There have been several high-profile instances of successful prosecutions of people who had abused lawmakers and other public figures online.