Hate crime strategy
Sets out our key priorities for tackling hate crime and prejudice in Scotland. This strategy has been developed in partnership with our Hate Crime Strategic Partnership Group and the voices of those with lived experience.
1. Ministerial Foreword
Hate crime and prejudice have a harmful impact on individuals, communities and wider society and they are never acceptable.
We continue to be resolute in our determination to prevent and tackle hatred and prejudice in all of its forms in order to build a more a cohesive society where everyone feels they belong; a society in which the diversity of people's backgrounds, beliefs and circumstances are appreciated and valued, and similar life opportunities are available to all.
New hate crime legislation will provide an essential element of our ambitious programme of work to tackle hate crime and build community cohesion by ensuring the law is fit for 21st century Scotland and, most importantly, affords sufficient protection to those that need it.
However, we know that legislation in and of itself is not enough to build the inclusive and equal society we aspire to. We need to work together to prevent hate crime from happening in the first place, including by changing attitudes and behaviours. We also need to ensure there are robust processes in place where people can report a hate crime when it happens and receive the support they need.
I recognise that the landscape has changed significantly in the past few years. COVID-19 brought with it a heightened awareness of exacerbated inequalities in Scotland. People across the country are now facing one of the toughest costs of living situations we have seen. Particular challenges around structural inequalities, including institutional racism and discrimination, have been increasingly brought to our attention, and have been discussed throughout the development of this strategy.
Including the voices of those with lived experience of hate crime has been central to our approach and I am grateful to those individuals who have taken the time to share their experiences. I was struck by the devastating impact hate crime has had on individuals, their families and their communities and the frustration people feel at the pace of change.
Our engagement has reinforced our understanding that hate crime does not affect all communities equally and that there is a geographic difference in hate crime rates. We also know people with shared characteristics can experience hate crime differently – and for some people, intersecting characteristics can amplify experiences of prejudice and hate crime.
I am committed to continuing meaningful engagement as we move towards delivery, to ensure that people see and feel a positive change as a result of this strategy.
This strategy has been developed in partnership with organisations with expertise in tackling prejudice, building cohesive communities and advancing human rights. I would like to express my thanks to the Hate Crime Strategic Partnership Group for their collective leadership in supporting its development, and to the many other individuals and organisations who have shared their views.
Preventing and tackling hate crime is the responsibility of us all. It is only through working together that we will create the inclusive society we want to see.
Minister for Equalities and Older People
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