Victims of hate crime in Scotland praised for the courage in reporting experiences

A new report on hate crime in Scotland has been published to highlight the rates of offences relating to religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity.`

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 15th June 2020, 3:45 pm
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie at the Don't Tolerate Hate campaign which was launched earlier this year.

The figures show an increase of charges linked to all such crimes, with race-related offences the most commonly reported. Race related crime has increased by four per cent in the past year, at 3,038 charges. Despite the increase this is still the lowest figure since 2003-2004.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC welcomed the new report, saying: “Tackling crime motivated by hatred and prejudice has never been more important, and Scotland’s prosecutors take seriously their responsibility to protect the public from such offending.

“I am grateful to all of the victims of hate crime who have had the courage and confidence to report their experience, and I encourage anyone who is the victim of such crime to come forward.

“These crimes do not just impact on individuals, but erode the fabric of our society. That is why it is so important for Scotland’s independent prosecution service to continue to respond robustly and fairly, using all of the tools at our disposal.

“Everyone in Scotland should be able to live without fear of being targeted because of their race, religion, disability, identity or sexual orientation and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is committed to protecting the public, especially from crime motivated by hate.”

Crime relating to sexual orientation is the second most reported hate crime. It has increased almost every year since specific legislation came into effect in 2010 and jumped 24 per cent in 2019-2020 with the latest total at 1,486 charges.

A total of 660 charges were religiously aggravated, also an increase of 24 per cent. This is thought to be around the same as the 2016 figure and lower than 2017.

Disability aggravated charges increased by 29 per cent to 387 and 41  charges of transgender aggravated crimes, an increase of one case since last year’s rate.