Publication - Impact assessment

Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill - Equality Impact Assessment

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) for the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill.

88 page PDF

785.3 kB

88 page PDF

785.3 kB

Contents
Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill - Equality Impact Assessment
Stage 3: Assessing the impacts and identifying opportunities to promote equality

88 page PDF

785.3 kB

Stage 3: Assessing the impacts and identifying opportunities to promote equality

Having considered the data and evidence you have gathered, this section requires you to consider the potential impacts – negative and positive – that your policy might have on each of the protected characteristics.  It is important to remember the duty is also a positive one – that we must explore whether the policy offers the opportunity to promote equality and/or foster good relations. 

Do you think that the policy impacts on people because of their age?

Age

Positive

Negative

None

Reasons for your decision

Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation

X

   

It has been acknowledged crimes based on a person’s age are relatively small.  However, the introduction of a statutory aggravation in respect of prejudice based on age sends a clear message to society that these offences will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.

Similarly, while there is less evidence that there are groups and/or individuals stirring up hatred of people on the ground of age, the extension of stirring up offences in this regard has the potential to make a contribution to reducing unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and promoting good relations by making it harder for people to engage in activity that contributes to a social atmosphere in which prejudice and discrimination are accepted as normal. Stirring up of hatred offences also communicate to society in general that the law has taken steps to protect people with this protected characteristic from hatred. This has the potential to reduce victimisation by having an educative function that will encourage behavioural change by sending a message that this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated and will be treated more seriously, thereby preventing groups and/or individuals feeling vulnerable to attack and excluded from the wider community.

The introduction of age into the hate crime framework will ensure that the criminal law is able to appropriately respond to any emerging issue of hate crime targeting people because of their age.

Advancing equality of opportunity

X

   

As above

Promoting good relations among and between different age groups

X

   

As above

Do you think that the policy impacts disabled people?

Disability

Positive

Negative

None

Reasons for your decision

Eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation

X

   

Disability is an existing characteristic under current hate crime legislation and through consolidation the legislation will continue to offer robust protection to those who need it most.

Including disability within hate crime legislation sends a clear message to society that offences committed based on prejudice towards a disability will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.

While there is less evidence that there are groups and/or individuals stirring up hatred of a group of people on the ground of disability, the extension of stirring up offences in this regard has the potential to make a contribution to reducing unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and promoting good relations by making it harder for people to engage in activity that contributes to a social atmosphere in which prejudice and discrimination are accepted as normal. Stirring up of hatred offences also communicate to society in general that the law has taken steps to protect people with this protected characteristic from hatred. This has the potential to reduce victimisation by having an educative function that will encourage behavioural change by sending a message that this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated and will be treated more seriously, thereby preventing groups and/or individuals feeling vulnerable to attack and excluded from the wider community.

Advancing equality of opportunity

X

   

As above

Promoting good relations among and between disabled and non-disabled people

X

   

As above 

Do you think that the policy impacts on men and women in different ways?

Sex 

Positive

Negative

None

Reasons for your decision

Eliminating unlawful discrimination

   

X

The Bill does not include a characteristic to cover sex/gender. This decision was taken following extensive engagement with women’s organisations in particular.

However, recognising that there is a clear need to tackle misogyny and gender based prejudice in Scotland, the Scottish Government is committed, in principle, to developing a standalone offence on misogynistic harassment and has established a Working Group to take this work forward.  Provision is also included in this Bill for an enabling power to allow a characteristic on the grounds of sex to be added to the hate crime legislative framework at a later date, after the Bill has passed if this is, for example, recommended by the Working Group.

Advancing equality of opportunity

   

X

As above

Promoting good relations between men and women

   

X

As above 

Do you think that the policy impacts on women because of pregnancy and maternity?

Pregnancy andMaternity

Positive

Negative

None

Reasons for your decision

Eliminating unlawful discrimination

   

X

The legislation does not encompass these groups and will have no particular impact 

Advancing equality of opportunity

   

X

 

Promoting good relations 

   

X

 
Do you think your policy impacts on transsexual people?

Gender reassignment

Positive

Negative

None

Reasons for your decision

Eliminating unlawful discrimination

X

   

Transgender identity is an existing characteristic under current hate crime legislation and through consolidation the legislation will continue to offer robust protection to those who need it most. It sends a clear message to society that these crimes will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.

Removing the term ‘intersexuality’ from the definition of transgender and creating a separate characteristic for ‘variations in sex characteristics’  recognises that this is a physical condition rather than an aspect of transgender identity. Updating the definition of transgender identity ensures a more inclusive definition that is more easily understood by the public.

The introduction of a stirring up offences in respect of transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics has the potential to make a contribution to eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and promoting good relations by making it harder for people to engage in activity that contributes to a social atmosphere in which prejudice and discrimination are accepted as normal. The introduction of stirring up of hatred offences also communicate to society in general that the law has taken steps to protect those with this protected characteristic from hatred. This has the potential to eliminate victimisation by having an educative function that will encourage behavioural change, thereby preventing people feeling vulnerable to attack and excluded from the wider community.

Advancing equality of opportunity

X

   

As above

Promoting good relations 

X

   

As above 

Do you think that the policy impacts on people because of their sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation

Positive

Negative

None

Reasons for your decision

Eliminating unlawful discrimination

X

   

Sexual orientation is an existing characteristic under current hate crime legislation and through consolidation the legislation will continue to offer robust protection to those who need it most. It sends a strong message that these crimes will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.

The introduction of a stirring up offence in respect of sexual orientation has the potential to make a contribution to eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and promoting good relations by making it harder for people to engage in activity that contributes to a social atmosphere in which prejudice and discrimination are accepted as normal. The introduction of stirring up of hatred offences also communicate to society in general that the law has taken steps to protect those with this protected characteristic from hatred. This has the potential to eliminate victimisation by having an educative function that will encourage behavioural change, thereby preventing people feeling vulnerable to attack and excluded from the wider community. 

Advancing equality of opportunity

X

   

As above

Promoting good relations 

X

   

As above 

Do you think the policy impacts on people on the grounds of their race?

Race

Positive

Negative

None

Reasons for your decision

Eliminating unlawful discrimination

X

   

Race is an existing characteristic under current hate crime legislation and through consolidation the legislation will continue to offer robust protection to those who need it most. The Bill sends a strong message that these crimes will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.

We have taken into account the views of stakeholders regarding section 50A of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995, which provides for an offence of racially aggravated harassment, and it has been decided to retain this piece of legislation. 

Similarly the word ‘insulting’ will be retained alongside ‘abusive’ and ‘threatening’ in respect to the legal threshold for stirring up of hatred offences in relation to race.

The Bill will therefore continue to afford robust protection to those most at risk from racial prejudice, which accounts for the majority of recorded hate crime offending in Scotland

Advancing equality of opportunity

X

   

As above

Promoting good race relations

X

   

As above 

Do you think the policy impacts on people because of their religion or belief?

Religion or belief

Positive

Negative

None

Reasons for your decision

Eliminating unlawful discrimination

X

   

Religion is an existing characteristic under current hate crime legislation and through consolidation the legislation will continue to offer robust protection to those who need it most. The Bill sends a strong message that these crimes will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated.

However, the repeal of section 6 of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 has left a gap in the law in Scotland with regards religious hatred, which, alongside race and sexual orientation, accounts for a significant proportion of recorded hate crime offending in Scotland.

Therefore, the introduction of stirring up offences in respect of religion enshrines in law the protection of people from groups and/or individuals stirring up hatred on the ground of religion. These measures have the potential to make a contribution to eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and promoting good relations by making it harder for people to engage in activity that contributes to a social atmosphere in which prejudice and discrimination are accepted as normal. The introduction of a stirring up of hatred offence also communicates to society in general that the law has taken steps to protect those with this characteristic from hatred. This has the potential to eliminate victimisation by having an educative function that will encourage behavioural change, thereby preventing people feeling vulnerable to attack and excluded from the wider community.

Advancing equality of opportunity

X

   

As above

Promoting good relations 

X

   

As above 


Contact

Email: Connected.Communities@gov.scot