Fostering a victim centred approach to hate crime In Scotland

Date: 16th October 2017
Category: General principles

Victim Support Scotland has produced this report to coincide with the independent review of hate crime legislation, which is currently being conducted by Lord Bracadale.

This process aims to ensure the suite of laws covering hate crime offences in Scotland is fit for purpose and provides the most effective approach to deal with the issue.

Hate crimes are pernicious because they attack a person's core identity, while also negatively impacting on the victim's wider community and weakening social cohesion. However, most of the policy and research relating to hate crime focuses on the perpetrators and the criminal justice response. Whilst this is valuable work, Victim Support Scotland (VSS) is primarily concerned with how to foster a victim centred approach to understanding and addressing hate crime in all its forms.

A child rights issue

LGBT young people report that they are particularly affected by hate crime and feel that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are still problems in their local areas and across Scotland.

From 2013-2014 to 2014-2015 there was a 20% increase in hate crimes relating to disability. Disabled children experience harassment and hate crime as bullying and are at twice the risk of being subjected to long term bullying at school than nondisabled children. Disabled children have spoken of experiencing bullying, harassment and threats, both at school and in the local community, which affect their confidence and their ability to participate. Hate Crime Scotland notes a broad consensus that disability hate crime continues to be underreported.

Gypsy/Traveller children also speak of being victims of hate crime when they move to new areas, with children as young as 10 reporting that they are 'disliked' by members of the settled community.

Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation

This consultation seeks views to inform the independent review of hate crime legislation in Scotland, conducted by Lord Bracadale. The deadline is the 23rd November 2017.