Following almost a year of scrutiny, the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act (the 2021 Act) was passed by the Scottish Parliamenton 11 March 2021 and received Royal Assent on 23 April 2021.1 The 2021 Act modernises, consolidates and extends existing hate crime law in Scotland. The Scottish Governmentis working closely with justice partners to implement the 2021 Act on the 1 April 2024. This information note explains the current law and what will change once the 2021 Act comes into force.
Hate crime legislation is an essential element of our wider approach to tackling hate crime. It makes clear the type of behaviour that is not acceptable in society.
We know that legislation in and of itself is not enough to build the inclusive and equal society that Scotland aspires to, however having clear legislation about hate crime sends a strong message. In particular, it makes it clear to victims, perpetrators, and communities that offences motivated by prejudice will be treated more seriously and will not be tolerated.
To support implementation of the 2021 Act, the Scottish Government published a new Hate Crime Strategy on 24 March 2023. The strategy sets out a vision for a Scotland where everyone lives free from hatred and prejudice and where our communities are empowered, inclusive and safe. It makes a number of commitments including ensuring improved support for victims, improving data and evidence developing effective approaches to prevention.
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