New report calls for tougher sentences for hate crimes
A new report launched today is calling for tougher sentences for hate crimes.
Researchers at the University of Limerick want to see the creation of new offences to protect vulnerable communities.
They surveyed 14 advocacy groups for those with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities and the LGBT community, which detailed instances of physical and verbal abuse.
Senator Ivana Bacik says there is a lack of laws that deal with hate crime in Ireland.
"People just aren't aware about the level of hate crime - those communities and groups that are affected by it will be aware of it, it's desperately hurtful for many individuals and their communities to know that this goes on," she said.
"I think the onus is on all of us to try and get this issue out there - highlight to people just how significant it is; that hate crime is going on in Ireland and that we've no specific law to stop it."