GLBTI community organisations have welcomed the Victorian government’s proposed crackdown on gay hate crimes.

The Government announced it will amend Section 5 of the Sentencing Act to require judges to recognise hatred for or prejudice against a particular group in society as an aggravating factor when sentencing.

Once in place, judges will be required by law to take into account if a crime was motivated by prejudice, which may result in harsher penalties for offenders.

We are looking at a range of reforms that send a clear message that attacks against any Victorian based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation will not be tolerated, Victoria Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls said last week.

Announced amid tensions over a spate of attacks on Indian students, Hulls said he had already been in lengthy discussions with the gay and lesbian community before the changes were announced.

The key issue now is to ensure the Government provides the necessary funding for community education efforts required to ensure the laws are understood by all Victorians, ALSO Foundation CEO Lyn Morgain said.

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