Skip to main content

13/06/14 10:03

Hate crime statistics

Ministers condemn all forms of prejudice and welcome possible increase in reporting.

All forms of hate crime have been condemned by Ministers as figures show a rise in some categories of offences and a decrease in religious hatred.

Hate Crime in Scotland 2013-14 was published as Equalities Secretary Shona Robison and Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham met with LGBT and disability organisations in Glasgow.

At the event, Ministers stated the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling all forms of prejudice and welcomed work to increase confidence to encourage people to come forward and report crimes.

The Crown Office publication shows that:

  • Racial hate crime is up slightly, by three per cent since 2012-13 but is still the second lowest annual figure since reports began
  • Sexual orientation aggravated crime has risen by 22 per cent
  • Religiously aggravated offending is down by 17 per cent including charges under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act
  • Disability aggravated offences are up by 12 per cent
  • The number of charges with an aggravation of transgender identity remains low at 25, although this is higher than 14 the previous year
  • In the second full financial year of the Offensive Behaviour Act charges under section 1 decreased by 24 per cent

Equalities Secretary Shona Robison said:

“No one should have to face discrimination or prejudice in any form in 21st century Scotland. It is never acceptable and it will not be tolerated.

“That’s why we have been working closely with organisations and police to eradicate hate crime from Scottish society, running an awareness campaign to help encourage people to report such crimes and setting up third party reporting centres across Scotland. We have also widened hate crime laws to include sexual orientation, transgender identity and disability and a new offence of engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour. We want people to come forward, and would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of hate crime to report it.

“The fact that we are investing over £60 million from the Equality budget during 2012-15 to tackle inequality and discrimination, more than double the funds in 2004-07 shows that we take this issue very seriously.

“The more we talk about it, the easier it will be for people to report hate crimes to the authorities. We are not becoming more intolerant as a society, but we are becoming less tolerant of those who hold prejudiced beliefs.”

Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Religiously aggravated offending has gone down by 17 per cent. That is very encouraging and testament to the hard work taking place to tackle these offences.

“We have invested £9 million between 2012-15 in community projects and set up an independent advisory group to tackle the scourge of sectarianism.

“I also welcome the drop by almost a quarter in the number of charges under section 1 of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act. Most football fans are well behaved and most matches are trouble free with an average of only one charge being reported for every five games.

“We have committed to review the legislation after two years but today shows that strong action is being taken to tackle the actions of the small minority of fans who indulge in offensive behaviour at football.”

Superintendent Gavin Phillip, Police Scotland Safer Communities Division said:

"Police Scotland recognise that Hate Crimes are bigoted acts towards often marginalised and vulnerable communities, which can have long lasting effects and are completely unacceptable. That is why tackling this abhorrent crime is one of our Equality and Diversity outcomes and an operational priority.

“We do however recognise that in some cases victims or witnesses of Hate Crime do not feel confident reporting the matter directly to the Police and may be more comfortable reporting it to someone they are familiar with or to an organisation they know. We have therefore been reviewing all of our Third Party reporting sites to ensure that we have adequate geographical coverage across Scotland, as well as providing sites, which cater for particular community needs. The staff in those sites have also received additional training from local officers to ensure that they can assist a victim or witness in submitting a report to the Police. In addition Hate Crime can now be reported on-line through the Police Scotland website"

Colin MacFarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland:

“'The sad reality for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scots is that that they face hate crime every day at home, in their communities and their workplaces. Whilst any single hate crime incident is one too many this increase suggests that more LGBT people feel able to report these crimes to the police. This is a positive development. Stonewall Scotland’s research shows however, that more than a third of LGBT people still don’t feel confident in reporting such incidents to the police and we will continue our work with Police Scotland to address this. Today’s figures show that there has been lots done but there is still lots to do.”

Jan Savage, Head of Campaigns & Policy, Enable Scotland said:

“Whilst a rise in disability related hate crime is concerning, at ENABLE Scotland we realise that this is also a strong indicator that more and more disabled people are exercising their rights to report hate crimes and reclaim their communities and the right to feel safe. What this also tells us is that there is a real need to tackle the root causes of disability related hate crime, and work harder to change attitudes about disability. 90 per cent of people who have a learning disability have been bullied at some point in their lives, and less than 1 in 3 people with a learning disability are able to name at least one close friend. This is unacceptable. We are working in partnership with Strathclyde University to design an exciting new resource for schools to use to educate pupils about learning disability and promote understanding of difference. Thanks to Scottish Government funding, we are also working with other organisations to develop a campaign to raise awareness of learning disability and encourage positive attitudes, and we are looking forward to launching these in November 2014. By working together, we can support people who have learning disabilities to live free from fear of hate crime and bullying, and hopefully start to see reports of hate crime move in the opposite direction.”

Notes to editors

Hate Crime in Scotland 2013/14 is available at: http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk/

Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland 2013-14 is available at:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/06/1659

Charges Reported under the Offensive Behaviour at Football & Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 is available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/06/8566

The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) Act (Scotland) 2009 created statutory aggravations for those targeted as a result of their sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability, and the Criminal Justice and Licencing (Scotland) Act 2010 created a new offence of engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour, sought to harmonise the application of existing hate crime law and improve recording of racial and religiously aggravated offences.

Detailed research on religiously aggravated offending and Offensive behaviour at football is currently collected and published, following a Scottish Government commitment made following the Joint Action Group of 2011.