Following the murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007, Manchester Police have recognized that attacks against fans of metal, goth, emo and punk music are to be listed as hate crimes, as Classic Rock reports. The move comes after pressures from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation to bring attention to attacks against people who listen to heavy or dark music.
Greater Manchester Police's Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan has issued the following statement: "People who wish to express their alternative subculture identity should not have to tolerate hate crime."
Sophie's mother Sylvia adds: "Its a validation of the work we have undertaken in the past five years. Hopefully other forces will follow."
The change in category means that there will be more support made available to the victims of such crimes. It does not mean a change in sentencing for those guilty of offenses. While the move has not been rolled out across the whole of the UK, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone last year admitted that the current list of hate crime categories in the UK was "incomplete."
Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked in 2007 because they were wearing goth clothes. Two of their assailants were sentenced to life in jail while three others were convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm.