There is no home for hate in Scotland. Hate crime has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities. It is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Everyone in Scotland has the right to live their lives without fear of being attacked for who they are, where they come from, the colour of their skin, their religious beliefs or who they choose to love.
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. Hate crime is the term used to describe behaviour that is both criminal and rooted in prejudice.
This means that the law has been broken, and the offender’s actions were driven by hatred towards a particular group. Hate crime can include but is not limited to:
- verbal abuse
- damage to property
- threatening behaviour
- online abuse.
In Scotland, the law currently recognises hate crime based on prejudice towards the following groups:
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity (including variations in sex characteristics)
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 – what is referred to as intersectionality. Intersectionality can significantly impact how people experience hate crime.
If you have experienced or witnessed a hate crime please do not hesitate to report it. The police take hate crime very seriously.