Police Scotland has launched a new campaign that aims to raise awareness of hate crime, which it defines as “any crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by malice or ill will towards a social group”.
Characteristics commonly targeted by perpetrators of hate crime include a victim’s sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race, religion or belief.
According to Police Scotland figures, 5,889 hate crime files were created in 2016/17. However, it warns that these numbers are unlikely to reflect the full extent of the problem, as the police suspect there is considerable under-reporting of this type of crime. Analysis of the figures has also revealed an increasing cyber element to the crimes, particularly with younger perpetrators who frequently use social media to commit hate crime.
“Tackling hate crime is a priority for Police Scotland and we take reports of any such incidents very seriously,” commented Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald.
“Young people may not realise that hate crime can have significant and long-lasting consequences for both victims and perpetrators,” she said. “We are working with partners to inform young people in an effort to prevent these incidents.”
“It is vital that people report any hate incidents to us,” she added. “Everyone has the right to live in safety and without fear.”
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