Hate crime in Scotland rises across all categories

Hate crime in Scotland rises across all categories

James Wolffe QC

Data published today shows there has been an increase in the number of charges reported in 2019-20 for all categories of hate crime compared to the previous year.

Racial crime remains the most commonly reported hate crime. In total 3,038 charges relating to race crime were reported in 2019-20, an increase of four per cent compared to 2018-19.

Sexual orientation aggravated crime is the second most commonly reported type of hate crime. The number of charges reported increased by 24 per cent in 2019-20 to 1,486.

There were 660 religiously aggravated charges reported in 2019-20, an increase of 24 per cent compared to 2018-19. Direct comparisons are not possible with earlier years, but the number of charges reported with a religious aggravation in 2019-20 appears to be at around the same level as the number of charges containing a religious element in 2015-16, but lower than the level in 2016-17.

The number of disability aggravated charges increased by 29 per cent to 387 in 2019-20.

There were 41 charges reported in 2019-20 with an aggravation of transgender identity, compared to 40 in 2018-19.

Following the publication of the figures, Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said: “Tackling crime motivated by hatred and prejudice has never been more important, and Scotland’s prosecutors take seriously their responsibility to protect the public from such offending.

“I am grateful to all of the victims of hate crime who have had the courage and confidence to report their experience, and I encourage anyone who is the victim of such crime to come forward.

“These crimes do not just impact on individuals, but erode the fabric of our society. That is why it is so important for Scotland’s independent prosecution service to continue to respond robustly and fairly, using all of the tools at our disposal.

“Everyone in Scotland should be able to live without fear of being targeted because of their race, religion, disability, identity or sexual orientation and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is committed to protecting the public, especially from crime motivated by hate.”

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