The Scottish Government defines hate crime as a crime which is motivated by 'malice or ill will' towards an identifiable social group. Currently in law this covers incidents motivated by prejudice against someone because of their
• race, nationality, skin colour or ethnicity
• sexual orientation (whether they are lesbian, gay, straight or bisexual
• disability (both physical and non physical)
In Scotland, if an offence is found to be motivated by any of these forms of prejudice, the Courts are required to reflect this when passing sentence. You don’t need to be a member of a minority group to be a victim of a hate crime. It can happen to anyone.
How do you know when something is a Hate Crime?
An incident should be treated as a hate crime if a victim or witness perceives it to be a hate crime. That is to say, if a victim believes they have been targeted for harassment or assault, verbal or physical, because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or transgender identity then the offence will be recorded and investigated as a hate crime. Even where a victim does not necessarily believe that this is the case, where a witness to the incident views it as being motivated by prejudice, then that is also sufficient to categorise an incident as a hate crime.
What Kinds of Crimes are Hate Crimes?
Nearly all forms of crime can potentially be motivated by hate. Hate crimes can include:
• Physical assault
• Criminal damage to property, e.g. graffiti, arson, vandalism.
• Intimidating or threatening behaviour including obscene calls or gestures.
• Offensive literature such as letters, leaflets, posters
• Cyber bullying such as abusive posts on Face Book
• Verbal abuse, or insults including name calling or offensive 'jokes'
What Can I Do about Hate Crime?
People are reluctant to contact the police for a variety of reasons. We understand this but we would encourage you to consider letting the police know about a hate incident. The fact is – if the police don’t know about it, they most definitely can’t do anything to put a stop to it and there is always the possibility that things may get worse. The Police take Hate Crime seriously which is why a commitment has been made to make reporting as easy as possible.
Here is how you can report hate Crime to Police Scotland:
• Call the Customer Contact Centre on 0141 532 2000
• Visit the police website http://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/hate-crime-third-party-reporting/ and fill in the online reporting form.
• Contact a Third Party Reporting Site who will forward the report to the police on your behalf. These are organisations that have been trained to recognise hate incidents and take reports in a safe and supportive way. All Third Party Reporting Sites will display this logo and you can make a report to the police anywhere you see it displayed. A list of sites can be found here Hate Crime Leaflet
I’m still worried about telling the police – what can I do?
You can report an incident without giving away your personal details. This might limit how the police follow up on your report. However, just knowing about small details such as the neighbourhood where an incident took place allows the police to see if there’s a problem with repeat incidents in an area and that helps them to identify where extra resources are needed. This can make everyone safer in the community.
If you do decide to give your details you can request that the police only send non-uniformed officers to your home or don’t come to your home at all or meet you in a venue where you feel comfortable
Here are some leaflets and information sheets that explain hate crime in different languages
Hate crimes leaflet
For more information please contact our Hate Crime Policy Officer on 0141 276 7494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org