LONDON (Reuters) - Online abuse will be treated as seriously as offline offences, Britain's prosecution service said on Monday in new guidance on handling hate crimes.
The rules - which included guidelines on helping disabled and bisexual victims - were meant to encourage more people to come forward and press courts to impose longer sentences, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
"This is a crime that's under-reported. Sometimes people feel that they just have to put up with it ... That's absolutely not the case," Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, told the BBC.
The new advice was in response to the growth of social media, the CPS said. There have been several high-profile instances of successful prosecutions of people who had abused lawmakers and other public figures online.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Andrew Heavens)