5. Data collection and evidence
5.1 Improving monitoring and data in respect of hate crime
Background to action
The 2016 Advisory Group recommended that the Scottish Government work with partners to improve monitoring and data collection in relation to hate crime to understand the nature of – and effectively tackle – hate crime and prejudice, and to develop methods to include qualitative indices of improvement in community cohesion for minorities. In response, we committed to the following actions.
Develop our approach to gathering evidence around hate crime, and bring forward a new hate crime publication later in 2017
On 27 February 2019 the Scottish Government published the 'Developing Information on Hate Crime Recorded by the Police in Scotland' report'. This report included information on the number of hate crimes recorded across the five hate strands of disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity (protected under existing hate crime legislation). However, we recognised that the data and evidence on hate crime in Scotland need to show a greater level of disaggregation, including further details on victims and perpetrators.
Improving data and evidence was one of the key priorities identified by the Action Group. The Group therefore had a key role in developing the information that would best reflect the experiences of their communities.
On 23 February 2021, we published the research report 'A Study into the Characteristics of Police Recorded Hate Crime in Scotland'. This is the first time such a high-quality measure of police recorded data on hate crime has been published. The report presents updated statistics on the number of hate crimes recorded by the police in Scotland over 2014-15 to 2019-20, and also includes findings from a study into the characteristics of these crimes including characteristics of both victims and perpetrators, based on the review of a random sample of these records from 2018-19. The second part of the report was produced to meet calls for a more detailed analysis of hate crime offences from equalities stakeholders in the Action Group to identify trends and patterns to provide a better understanding of the nature of offences and consider how best to respond in tackling hate crime and prejudice.
The police recorded 6,448 hate crimes in 2019-20. Since 2014-15, the number of hate crimes recorded has fluctuated between 6,300 and 7,000 crimes. In 2019-20, around three-fifths (62%) of hate crimes included a race aggravator with one in five (20%) including a sexual orientation aggravator. For race-aggravated hate crimes, where information was available on the ethnicity of victims, almost two-thirds (or 64%) had a victim from a visible minority ethnic (non-white) group. This compares to 4% of Scotland's population at the time of the last census.
"The publication of this research report was a significant milestone, providing stakeholders such as ourselves with data and insights into the characteristics of both the victims and the perpetrators of disability hate crime. The commitment to ensuring that we can access disaggregate data on a sustainable basis is vital to the development of a new hate crime strategy and proves a platform for measuring the impact of actions and interventions which arise from this strategy."
Glasgow Disability Alliance
The report provided some valuable information to support our wider work on tackling hate crime and prejudice. This will help inform our engagement with stakeholders on the development of a new hate crime strategy later this year.
In addition, the Hate Crime Act makes provision requiring information about police recorded hate crime data and hate crime convictions data to be published annually, and with greater detail where known. We have committed to work with Police Scotland to ensure their IT systems will have the capability of capturing disaggregated data, where it is available, on a sustainable basis. Such data is essential in our collective endeavour to more effectively tackle hate crime in Scotland.
"We welcome the legal duty to publish data reflecting the provisions of racial protections (Colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin) outlined in the Article 1 of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. The legal duty to publish data reflecting these provisions can be used to target specific types of racially motivated hate crime, inform non-judicial interventions and should be explicitly championed as an exemplar of international best practice."
Until Police Scotland have systems in place to extract this data, we have committed to producing a further study into the characteristics of police recorded hate crime, to be published next year, to cover records from 2020-21, which includes the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Work with the STUC and others to gather evidence of hate crime experienced within the workplace, with an initial focus on front line workers
We have been unable to take this action forward with the STUC. However, the findings from our research study 'A Study into the Characteristics of Police Recorded Hate Crime in Scotland' have provided some valuable information to support our wider work on tackling hate crime and prejudice, including that experienced in the workplace, and which will help inform our engagement with stakeholders as we begin to develop a new hate crime strategy later this year.
5.2 Community cohesion
To better measure progress in this area, strengthen National Outcome 11 of the National Performance Framework which focuses on our efforts to build strong, inclusive and supportive communities and ensure that the rights and wellbeing of Scotland's minority communities are central to our business
The National Performance Framework (NPF) provides a vision for building a more successful and inclusive Scotland and the way in which progress towards it can be measured. The NPF is made up of 11 National Outcomes, including a 'Communities' outcome which states : 'We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe' and a 'Human Rights' outcome which states 'We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination'.
Progress towards the 11 National Outcomes is assessed through 81 National Indicators that tell us whether Scotland's performance is improving, worsening or maintaining for each indicator.
One such indicator is "Social Capital" where an index-base for social cohesion was developed which encompasses the four themes of social networks, community cohesion, social participation and community empowerment to monitor aggregate changes in levels of social capital. The theme of community cohesion considers how people feel about their neighbourhoods, their safety, trust and kindness and opportunities and infrastructure that enables meeting with others and people from different backgrounds.
In Scotland, focused weeks that celebrate Scotland's rich diversity form part of the tapestry encompassing the four themes and include weeks such as Scottish Refugee Week and Scottish Interfaith Week.
Inclusive and supportive communities
In 2019 the mosque in Elgin was vandalised with offensive graffiti. Immediately representatives of Interfaith Scotland and the local Moray Interfaith group visited the mosque and met with the President of the Mosque, Lansana Bangura. Such acts of solidarity are crucial and Mr. Bangura spoke compassionately about the need to 'sit around a table and talk' to help build good community relations.
The Scottish Religious Leaders Forum has met twice a year since 2002 and as well as building bonds of friendship they stand together in solidarity at moments of extreme tension. In 2019 the attacks on the Sri Lankan Christian community at Easter impacted on communities in Scotland and the Scottish Religious Leaders Forum met together to stand with the Christian community.
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