Criminal charges with sexual orientation aggravation up 10 per cent

Criminal charges with sexual orientation aggravation up 10 per cent

The number of criminal charges reported with a sexual orientation aggravation increased by 10 per cent in 2021-22 to 1,781 – continuing the upward trend of the last decade.

The figures were published in the report Hate Crime in Scotland 2021-22, released today. This brings together figures on race crime and on crime motivated by prejudice related to religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity.

The main findings are:

  • There were 5,640 charges containing at least one element of hate crime reported to COPFS in 2021-22, a marginal decrease of -0.2 per cent compared to 2020-21.
  • The majority of hate crime charges contain a racial element. However, the proportion that contain a racial element has generally decreased over the last 10 years, from 75 per cent in 2012-13 to 55 per cent in 2021-22. The proportion of hate crime charges that relate to sexual orientation has increased from 13 per cent to 32 per cent over the same period. In 2021-22 for the first time the proportion relating to disability (12 per cent) was higher than the proportion relating to religion (9 per cent).
  • There were 3,107 charges relating to race crime reported in 2021-22, a decrease of seven per cent compared to 2020-21. Numbers have fluctuated in recent years but are currently 32 per cent lower than the peak in such charges in 2011-12, when 4,547 were reported.
  • The number of disability aggravated charges increased by 44 per cent to 666 in 2021-22, also continuing the upward trend of the last 10 years.
  • There were 512 charges with a religious aggravation reported in 2021-22, 16 per cent fewer than in 2020-21. This is the lowest number of charges containing a religious element since 2004-05, when 479 charges were reported.
  • There were 84 charges reported in 2021-22 with an aggravation of transgender identity. This compares to 45 in 2020-21, an increase of 87 per cent. This is the highest number of such charges reported since the legislation introducing this aggravation came into force in 2010.

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC said: “Hate crime has damaging consequences for individuals, our communities and society as a whole. No one should find themselves targeted or abused for the simple act of being who they are.

“Offences which are fired by hatred and prejudice against race, religion, disability, transgender identity or sexual orientation will not be tolerated.

“The Crown takes very seriously our responsibility to protect the public from this offending.

“We would urge any victim or witness to such crime to come forward and report it. They can be confident that Scottish prosecutors are committed to a robust approach to every report of hate crime they receive.”

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