Jim Shannon – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Jim Shannon on 2016-01-13.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the hate mail and verbal attacks on people who are overweight.

Karen Bradley

Weight is not a protected characteristic under discrimination or hate crime legislation. However, there are protections in place for all citizens against hatred and verbal abuse.

The Government is absolutely clear that abusive and threatening behaviour – in whatever form and whoever the target – is totally unacceptable. This includes harassment committed in person, or using phones or the internet. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 has provisions for prosecution where harassment has taken place on two or more occasions. Harassment involves improper, oppressive and unreasonable conduct that is targeted at an individual and calculated to alarm them or cause them distress.

The Malicious Communications Act 1988 prohibits sending letters or emails which are grossly offensive, threatening or known or believed to be false by the sender, within England and Wales.