Hate Crime Act to go live on April 1

Hate Crime Act to go live on April 1

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act will be activated – on April 1.

The law creates new stirring up of hatred offences for protected characteristics including age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity.

Recent statistics show that 5,738 charges of hate crime were reported in Scotland in 2022-23.

A new Scottish government public awareness raising campaign supported by Police Scotland has been launched. The Hate Hurts campaign shows the impact of hate crime and encourages those who have witnessed or experienced a hate crime to come forward.

Victims minister Siobhian Brown said: “For those impacted by hatred and prejudice, the results can be traumatic and life changing. While we respect everyone’s right to freedom of expression, nobody in our society should live in fear or be made to feel like they don’t belong, and the Scottish Government is committed to building safer communities that live free from hatred and prejudice.

“Hate crime is behaviour that is both criminal and rooted in prejudice. It can be verbal, physical, online or face-to-face. The new law will give greater protections to those who need it and helps to form the basis of understanding about the type of behaviour that is not acceptable in our society.

“We must do all we can to give victims and witnesses the confidence to report instances of hate crime, which is why we have launched a new campaign, ‘Hate Hurts’. The campaign is informed by lived experience, and explains what a hate crime is, the impact it has on victims and how to report it.”

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