Information

Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland 2011-12

A breakdown of religious aggravations charges (section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2010) in Scotland in 2011-12.


1. Introduction

1.1 This report presents information about recorded religiously aggravated offending in Scotland in 2011-12, based on a review of police charges issued under section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. The Act states that an offence is aggravated by religious prejudice if:

(a) at the time of committing the offence or immediately before or after doing so, the offender evinces towards the victim (if any) of the offence malice and ill-will based on the victim's membership (or presumed membership) of a religious group, or of a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation; or

(b) the offence is motivated (wholly or partly) by malice and ill-will towards members of a religious group, or of a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation, based on their membership of that group.

1.2 Some information about the use of this legislation for the financial year 2011-12 was published by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in May 2012[4] in their report titled 'Hate Crime in Scotland 2011-12'.

1.3 The COPFS report showed a rise in charges aggravated by religion, racial, sexual orientation, disability and transgender prejudice and suggested these increases were likely to be partly caused by increased awareness, reporting and recording of these crimes, following several high profile hate crime incidents which received media attention in 2011-12.

Research Questions

1.4 To provide a greater insight into the nature of religious offending in Scotland this report presents a further breakdown of the charges reported to COPFS in
2011-12.

1.5 The research sought to find out the age and sex of the accused; who the offensive conduct was directed towards; where incidents took place; if they were related to alcohol, drugs, football or marches and parades; which religions were targeted, and the final court outcomes for the charges.

Contact

Email: Ben Cavanagh

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