Nobody should experience hate crime because of their sexual orientation, gender-identity or sex characteristics, but we know that lots of people do.
That’s why we are delivering a new initiative as part of a new National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership which brings together 35 LGBT organisations from across England, Wales and Scotland, and is being delivered on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The project is being led by the LGBT Consortium.
We want this project to let LGBTI people living in Scotland know that the law is there to protect them, and we are working with Police Scotland and the Crown Office to make sure that they support people in the best way possible if they report an incident.
There shouldn’t be any barriers, perceived or otherwise, to reporting a hate crime. We hope that by working with our partners we can encourage more people to recognise a hate crime, report it to the police, and get the support they are entitled to.
Research has consistently shown that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experience high levels of hate crime, that is verbal, physical, sexual assault and other crime perpetrated against them because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.
The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 allows the penalties that are imposed on people who commit crimes to take into account a motivation of prejudice based on sexual orientation and transgender identity. Importantly, it is the perception of the perpetrator which is taken into account not the identity of the victim. This means that whether the victim identifies as LGBTI or not, if the perpetrator’s actions are motivated hostility towards LGBTI people then the legislation applies.
The police in Scotland have done a great deal of work to reach out to LGBTI communities and to encourage people to report hate crime. Remote reporting allows people to report a hate crime through another organisation, without speaking directly to the police. It is also possible to report hate crime that you have witnessed, to the police on their website. Click this link for Police Scotland information on reporting hate crime.
The LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing provides a range of community safety services including remote reporting. Click this link to be taken to their website for more information.