Report of Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion

Independent Advisory Group report on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion.

The Advisory Group

At a summit convened by the Scottish Government on 14 October 2015, Ministers announced their intention to establish an Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion. The main purpose of the group was to provide evidenced findings and recommendations which the Scottish Government can take forward in partnership with communities to help eliminate hate crime for good.

The Advisory Group's terms of reference were to:

  • take forward consideration of the nature, extent and impact of hate crime and broader hate behaviour on modern Scottish life. This should include considering existing evidence; identifying what further evidence is needed; and considering a realistic and achievable programme for gathering that evidence;
  • assess current practice to tackle hate crime, hate behaviour, reduce prejudice and build community cohesion, engaging with stakeholders and communities throughout on the issues of important to them whilst considering whether improvement can be delivered in these areas in a holistic and coordinated way; and use the evidence, information and views gathered provide initial findings to Scottish Ministers on future priorities and actions in this area in the spring of 2016;
  • provide independent and specialist expertise on the development of a robust policy agenda to tackling hate crime; and
  • take a consensual, thematic approach to working with a broad range of stakeholders, interest groups and representative organisations, and aim to create a space for free and open discussions.

Group members

Dr Duncan Morrow (chair), Director of Community Engagement at the University of Ulster

Dr Duncan Morrow (chair)
Director of Community Engagement at the University of Ulster

Duncan is responsible for developing the University's partnerships with groups and organisations across the community. His professional life began as a research officer in the Centre for the Study of Conflict looking into the role of churches and religion in conflict in Northern Ireland. He subsequently established the Understanding Conflict Trust, which was initially designed to lead and facilitate difficult dialogue and conversation around issues of history, politics and conflict and to identify practical steps to promote change. Much of that work was with community development organisations, in youth work and with reconciliation groups. After 1996 this developed into the Future Ways Project within the University of Ulster. Duncan's early research led to the development of the concept of Equity, Diversity and Interdependence as a vehicle to analyse interventions to promote reconciliation and change in a systematic manner. In 1998, he was appointed as sentence review commissioner responsible for implementing the arrangements for the early release of prisoners following the Good Friday Agreement. In 2002, Duncan was appointed as Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council where he championed the concept of a shared future and developed the council's role in research and active learning, in policy development and work on key issues such as interfaces, parading and regeneration and in work with victims and survivors of conflict. He was most recently appointed as Chairman of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Tackling Sectarianism, Scottish Government, 2013-15. He holds a BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford (1982); a PhD in 'Neutrality as Foreign Policy in Austria since 1955', University of Edinburgh (1987); and a PGCUT, University of Ulster (1993).

Dr Rowena Arshad OBE, Head of Moray House School of Education/Co-Director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES), University of Edinburgh

Dr Rowena Arshad OBE
Head of Moray House School of Education/Co-Director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland ( CERES), University of Edinburgh

Rowena started her professional life in the private sector in business and banking and has worked with Scottish Education and Action for Development ( SEAD) as an Education and Campaigns Organiser. In 1988, she became Director of the Multicultural Education Centre in Edinburgh and from there moved into Moray House to pursue studies including an interpretive study of teacher activism in equity and anti-discrimination in Scotland. She became the Head of School in 2013. She was awarded an OBE in 2001 for services to race equality in Scotland and an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University in 2010 for services to gender equality. She has held several public and government appointments, including as Equal Opportunities Commissioner for Scotland, a member of the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council, Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and the Scottish Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She has a particular interest in equality and anti-discrimination issues and how these issues are taken forward in education (school, community education and tertiary) and within educational policy. Her recent research is on the everyday experiences of minority ethnic young people in Scotland.

Pauline Kelly, Hate Crime Policy Officer, Community Safety Glasgow

Pauline Kelly
Hate Crime Policy Officer, Community Safety Glasgow

Pauline has been working in the field of equalities and social justice for over 30 years. She has extensive experience in developing and supporting both strategic and operational partnerships. Pauline has occupied her current position with Community Safety Glasgow since 2010, in which she is responsible for developing multi agency approaches to hate crime, building community safety partners' capacity to respond to hate crime and providing external policy expertise for public sector agencies. She brings a strong practical perspective and knowledge gleaned from operating in Glasgow City, Scotland's largest and most diverse local authority area. Her previous roles include working in the voluntary and public sectors in the fields of violence against women, employability, regeneration and community development within Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire.

Morag McLaughlin, Former senior prosecutor and Member of the Scotland Committee of Equality and Human Rights Commission

Morag McLaughlin
Former senior prosecutor and Member of the Scotland Committee of Equality and Human Rights Commission

Morag was a front line prosecutor for several years in the West of Scotland and then held a number of senior positions including Head of the High Court Unit at Crown Office and Head of Policy for the Crown, where she led on implementation of the Equality Act for COPFS (Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal) interests. From 2005, she was Area Procurator Fiscal for Grampian, with responsibility for the investigation and prosecution of crime across the North East of Scotland. From 2008 until 2011, she was Area Procurator Fiscal for Lothian & Borders and a member of the COPFS Management Board. Throughout her time in senior positions with COPFS, Morag worked at a strategic level with the police service and key criminal justice system partners. She has a keen interest in equality and diversity matters and between September 2011 and April 2016 was a member of the Scotland Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a co-opted member of the UK EHRC Disability Committee, a legal member of the Parole Board for Scotland and a member of the Scottish Police Authority. She was a member of the Advisory Group until her appointment as a Summary Sheriff in Aberdeen in May 2016.

John Wilkes, Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council

John Wilkes
Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council

John is an experienced Chief officer in the public and third sector with extensive governance experience. Since 2008, he has been Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, leading the organisation through a sustained period of change. He was seconded to the Scottish Government's Equality Unit for four months in 2014 to support work in relation to asylum and constitutional reform and in the early development of the 50/50 by 2020 initiative. Prior to that, John was Scotland Director of the Equal Opportunities Committee (a precursor body to the Equality and Human Rights Commission) and also spent time heading an organisation for carers. He has a breadth of experience in relation to LGBT issues, having been a trustee of Stonewall UK; the Equality Network; and the Glasgow LGBT Centre. He holds or has held a range of other trusteeships which include ACOSVO; White Ribbon Scotland; and Citizens Advice Scotland.


Support to the Advisory Group was provided by Scottish Government officials from the Equality and Community Safety Units. This included external communications, making the logistical arrangements for meetings, providing administrative support at those engagements, implementing the Advisory Group's requests in terms of engagements, and assisting with the drafting of reports and correspondence.

Work undertaken

The Advisory Group met a number of times between December 2014 and May 2015. These included five general plenary meetings in Edinburgh and Glasgow which involved work planning, key stakeholder engagement and exploration of relevant issues. The Advisory Group hosted a number of thematic roundtable discussions with stakeholder groups on the issues of race, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, and children and young people. A schedule of engagements is at Annex B.


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