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Hate Crime

Hate has no home here, everyone in Scotland has the right to live their lives without fear of being attacked because of their age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or variations in sex characteristics.

Hate hurts. Hate crime has a devastating impact on victims, their families and communities. We must all play our part to challenge it.

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Hate crime is the term used to describe behaviour that is both criminal and rooted in prejudice.

In Scotland, the law currently recognises hate crime based on prejudice towards the following groups:

  • age
  • disability
  • race
  • religion
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender identity
  • variations in sex characteristics

Hate crime can include but is not limited to:

  • assault
  • damage to property
  • harassment
  • online abuse
  • robbery
  • threatening behaviour
  • verbal abuse

Hate crime can target a particular person or an entire group. You don’t have to be a member of the targeted group/s to be a victim of hate crime, as the law applies to crimes based on someone’s belief about your identity, even if that is incorrect. Some people will belong to or identify with more than one protected group. For some, a combination of characteristics will mean that they experience hate crime in a specific way – referred to as intersectionality. Intersectionality can significantly impact how people experience hate crime, for some people intersecting characteristics can amplify experiences of prejudice and hate crime.

If you have experienced or witnessed a hate crime please report it. The police take hate crime very seriously.

Scotland’s diversity is its strength, all communities are valued and their contribution welcomed.  A cohesive society is one with a common vision and sense of belonging for all communities, a society where people’s backgrounds, beliefs and circumstances are appreciated and valued. Hate crime and prejudice is never acceptable and the Scottish Government is committed to tackling it.

The law has changed in Scotland. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 consolidates, modernises and extends existing hate crime legislation.  The Act introduces new protections against offences aggravate by prejudice towards a person’s age.  It also provides a new ‘stirring up of hatred’ offence covering all characteristics protected in the updated legislative framework.

Survivor Stories

Hate crime can be verbal or physical and can take place anywhere – including online – and we all have a part to play in challenging it. Each example paints just a small part of a much larger picture that the survivors endured.