On August 24th 2007, the news of an attack on a rock fan, Sophie Lancaster, shocked the United Kingdom. Along with her boyfriend she was attacked on their way back to their home in Lancashire. Due to her severe head injuries she fell into a coma and never regained consciousness. Sadly, the twenty year old died thirteen days after being admitted to hospital.

The couple had faced difficulties in their past having been labelled “freaks”, “moshers” and “goths”. They were both part of the goth subculture which the police think may have provoked the attack due to their alternative style.

Five teenagers were later arrested and two were convicted of murder and were sentenced to life in prison. The other three males were convicted and jailed for “grievous bodily harm”. In her memory, her family set up a memorial fund and arranged numerous events to pay tribute.

The three main aims of the charity (as quoted from the official website: www.sophielancasterfoundation.com), have been to: create a lasting legacy to Sophie; provide educational group-works that will challenge the prejudice and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures; campaign to have the UK Hate Crime legislation extended to include people from alternative subcultures or Lifestyle and Dress.

However, what no one expected was how far this organisation would come over the six years it’s been active. Having been supported and advertised by many different companies that specialise in alternative music, clothing, events etc., it has become a well-known foundation.

Several weeks ago in Greater Manchester, the Police Department have been the first to add Alternative Sub-Cultures to the Hate Crime Standard. This action has recognised alternative sub-culture as a wide group of individuals much like religion, race, sexual orientation, disability and transgender has been recognised. This group however, is distinguished mostly by a distinctive clothing style, music taste, make up choice and body art.

By adding alternative sub-culture to the Hate Crime Standard the Greater Manchester police have stated that people who wish to express their alternative sub-culture identity should not tolerate any form of hate crime which many face on a daily basis. They are offering support and risk assessments for those who have dealt with victimisation repeatedly.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation has succeeded in recognising hate crime against another form of sub-culture which previously went unnoticed. Hate crime can lead to the tragic loss of life in extreme cases and, therefore, the police, as well as the organisation, are encouraging communities to challenge it, report it, and help everyone to stop it.