Views sought in preparation of hate crime bill

James Wolffe QC

The Scottish government is calling on the public to help shape consolidated and modernised hate crime legislation as a new consultation opens today.

‘One Scotland: Hate Has No Home Here’ follows on from Lord Bracadale’s review of existing hate crime legislation in Scotland which included recommendations that additional statutory aggravations should be created for age and gender.  

The consultation calls for views on a number of issues including how best to tackle gender-based prejudice and misogyny. The issue of sectarianism will also be considered with the consultation seeking views on how this could be tackled through law based on the findings of the Working Group on Defining Sectarianism in Scots law.

The public responses will inform the development of a hate crime bill which will be laid before Holyrood later in this session of Parliament.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf was at 6VT youth café, and third-party reporting centre, in Edinburgh to meet with young people who have been affected by hate crime.

He said: “Hate crime and prejudice are completely unacceptable and we are absolutely committed to tackling them. Following Lord Bracadale’s review we now want to hear the nation’s view on what our hate crime law should look like.

“The public’s voice is absolutely crucial in this process and we are determined to take this opportunity to shape our legislation so that it is fit for 21st century Scotland.

“We know that legislation in itself is not enough to build the inclusive Scotland we want and aspire to, but having robust law in place is vital so that it is clear to all that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in society.”

The Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, also attended the visit in Edinburgh, he said: “Crime motivated by hatred is not only a wrong against the individual, but it is an affront to our collective values as a community, creating division and fear.

“This is why we treat hate crime so seriously and why, as Scotland’s independent public prosecution service, the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service, will continue to do so.

“We are committed to tackling hate crime.”