Prosecutor to demand harsher punishments for gender-identity discrimination

The Public Prosecutor wants harsher punishment for those who insult or assault people based on their gender identity, according to a new designation of discrimination the Public Prosecution Service published on Tuesday. From January 1st Prosecutors will be able to demand harsher punishments if someone is discriminated against because they are transsexual or transgender, RTL Nieuws reports.

The designation is a kind of handbook for Public Prosecutors. The previous version dated from 2007 and was due for renewal, the Prosecutor said. This is partly because of the rise of social media. A lot of discrimination takes place there and can also quickly be removed. The police will therefore now quickly register the account details of people who make discriminatory remarks online.

The new designation also gives Prosecutors the option of imposing conditionally suspended sentences instead of a fine. A person with a conditionally suspended sentence will go to jail if he or she does not comply with conditions imposed by the court, such as a restraining order, during a probation period. 

In addition, the designation provides opportunities to settle discrimination cases outside of criminal law. For example if a company's staff discriminates against a customer, the Public Prosecutor can decide to oblige the company to take measures.