HATE CRIME AND HATE INCIDENTS
Hate Crime and Hate Incidents
Each year around one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK have been the victim of a hate crime or hate incident.
Hate Crime is crime motivated by malice or ill will towards a social group by:
- Sexual orientation
- Transgender/gender identity
People who are openly or perceived gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual are most susceptible to prejudice and hate crime and are protected by law.
Hate crimes are abhorrent and target marginalised and vulnerable members of our communities with devastating effect on both victims and their families.
They can take a number of forms and can include:
- Threatening behaviour and / or gestures, physical assault and murder
- Damage to property e.g. graffiti, arson, vandalism
- Deliberate dog fouling or dumping rubbish at or through someone’s door
- Intimidation such as obscene calls or online bullying and abuse
- Distributing offensive literature such as letters, leaflets, posters
- Verbal abuse or insults including name-calling
- Emotional, psychological and financial abuse including threats, blackmail and extortion
Almost one in five hate crime victims were threatened with violence or the use of force.
More than eight in ten reports involve harassment, insults and intimidation quite often within the context of a relationship or by someone known to the victim at home or work.
Many victims don’t report abuse as they have low expectations that anyone will listen or act.
In Scotland in 2018-2019 there were 1,176 charges of sexual orientation aggravated crime, an increase of 5 percent over the previous 12 months. With the exception of 2014-15, there have been year on year increases in charges reported since the legislation introducing this aggravation came into force in 2010.
Police Scotland have identified hate crime as a high priority under the classification of violence, disorder and anti-social behaviour and place a high priority on such crime, with the aim of:
- Increasing the confidence of victims to report hate crimes/incidents.
- Adopting a multi-agency response to dealing with hate crime.
- Increasing action against perpetrators through intelligence led pro-active policing and robust enforcement.
A hate incident is any incident that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice.
Advice on Reporting Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents
If you are the victim of a hate crime reporting the crime will help you get appropriate support and advice. It also allows the judicial process to punish perpetrators of such crimes. It may also:
- stop the attacker from harming you again or from harming someone else
- make you may feel better by taking control by helping to ensure your attacker accounts for the crime
- mean you would be able to claim compensation for any injury
Reporting hate incidents will allow the police to identify trends and focus preventative community safety work in that area.
It is your right to choose whether to report or not. If you choose not to report then it is important to remember that the perpetrator of a crime is solely responsible for what they have done and you cannot be blamed for any future actions of your attacker.
Your personal safely is important and if you are too scared or in fear of reprisals from reporting, the police can assist to reduce that risk.
Police Scotland takes Hate Crime very seriously and encourages members of all communities to report crimes and incidents. They fully support 3rd party reporting to encourage victims to come forward.
How to Report a Hate Crime or a Hate Incident
To the police either by calling 101 or in person to a police station (always dial 999 in an emergency) or use the online form.
Calling anonymously to crimestoppers https://crimestoppers-uk.org/campaigns-media/community/scotland
on 0800 555 111
Using a 3rd party reporting service, where you can report in confidence if you wish, via another agency. List of third party reporting centres is available on the Police Scotland website on https://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/hate-crime-and-third-party-reporting/third-party-reporting-centres
or for Dumfries & Galloway specifically: http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/commplan/index.aspx?articleid=12478