6. Reporting and increasing public awareness
6.1 Campaign activity
Background to action
In their research, the 2016 Advisory Group found that perpetrators, or potential perpetrators, would not consider themselves as having committed a hate crime despite expressing prejudicial views and behaviours which would have a real impact on individuals and communities.
The 2016 Advisory Group therefore recommended that public education should be undertaken to improve understanding of the nature and extent of hate crime. In response, we committed to the following action.
Develop a public awareness campaign around the impacts of hate crime in partnership with stakeholders, and run this later in 2017 to coincide with wider awareness-raising initiatives
Since 2017, we have developed a number of hate crime campaigns in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, including Police Scotland.
In October 2017, we launched the 'Hate Has No Home in Scotland' campaign in partnership with Police Scotland. The campaign aimed to increase awareness of what hate crime is, the impact it has on individuals and communities, and encourage victims and witnesses to report it. The evaluation was positive and showed it was particularly successful among those who have had some experience of hate crime (whether as a victim or a witness).
Building on the success of this campaign, in September 2018 we launched the 'Letters from Scotland' campaign, in partnership with Police Scotland. The campaign was a series of letters addressed to perpetrators of hate crime which stated that 'your hate has no home here'. They were signed 'Yours, Scotland' in order to encourage those who read it to report hate crime if they witnessed it – therefore helping to create 'One Scotland' where hate crime and prejudice is not tolerated. The campaign evaluation was positive and showed an increase in knowledge of hate crime and claimed action in response to the campaign compared to 2017. We relaunched this campaign in October 2020 following concerns raised by stakeholders that there had been an increase in hate crime across all strands, but in particular towards Chinese and Southeast Asian communities, both online and face-to-face throughout the pandemic. The campaign aimed to encourage victims and witnesses to report and increased awareness of how to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 campaign played an important role in keeping familiarity with hate crime high and encouraging action (now or in future), and resulted in almost 45,000 visitors to the onesccotland.org website during the campaign period.
We will continue to engage with key stakeholders in developing future hate crime campaigns to increase awareness of hate crime as an issue among the public and prompt the desired positive action. We have also supported hate crime campaigns launched by Police Scotland.
fearless.org also launched a campaign which aimed to educate and inform young people about hate crime and encourage third parties to report hate crime anonymously through its online reporting service.
6.2 Third party reporting
Background to action
The 2016 Advisory Group identified that many people who experience hatred and prejudice face many potential barriers to reporting a hate crime, resulting in hate crime being underreported for all characteristics. They recommended that Police Scotland and its partners should review the effectiveness of the third party reporting (TPR) centre network and develop action steps to improve it, as well as address barriers to reporting. In response, we committed to the following action.
Through the newly established multi-agency delivery group, consider how to break down barriers to reporting and inform this with Police Scotland's work on developing the third party reporting infrastructure
The Action Group worked closely with Police Scotland to consider how the third party reporting system may be improved in order to better support victims of hate crime. An engagement session on improving the TPR infrastructure was held jointly by Police Scotland and the Scottish Government in December 2019. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, progression of this piece of work was paused.
To ensure that victims continued to have accessible methods to report hate crime during the COVID-19 pandemic, Police Scotland carried out a review of TPR centres identifying those able to operate a remote service. The Police Scotland internet page was updated in this regard and communications were released advertising the service available. The updated site was shared with local policing divisions and relevant partners, raising awareness of additional means to access support. Our 2020 hate crime campaign that was launched in partnership with Police Scotland was also able to continue to promote the availability of the TPR network to support victims and witnesses to report.
Police Scotland also reviewed and refreshed the TPR centre training to ensure it was fit for purpose and up-to-date and have adapted to virtual training to ensure more centres are available to the public.
On 3 June 2021, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland published a report on the thematic inspection of hate crime. The report includes recommendations on reporting of hate crime, including third party reporting. We will consider these, in partnership with Police Scotland, as we begin to develop our new hate crime strategy with stakeholders later this year.
6.3 Public transport
Background to action
Individuals can be the target of hate crime on our public transport system, and transport providers need to be aware of this and provide an effective response to any incidents. The 2016 Advisory Group recommended that the Scottish Government work with all stakeholders (including transport providers and workers) to consider how better to protect those experiencing hate crime on public transport. In response, we committed to the following action.
Agree a hate crime charter with public transport operators which provides clear, common standards and consistent processes for dealing with hate crime on public transport
A Hate Crime Charter for bus and rail was launched on social media on 24 March 2021. This resource was developed with Disability Equality Scotland, Police Scotland, British Transport Police, People First Scotland and SEStran to create a nationally recognised system to encourage transport providers, members of the public and other services to support zero-tolerance to all forms of hate crime on public transport. The Charter encourages people to recognise and report hate crime on public transport. Information about how to report it is contained on the Accessible Travel Hub website where there is a dedicated page.
The next steps will be to encourage up-take of the Charter with more transport providers. Training in disability awareness and hate crime will also be offered, for free, to transport providers. This will be delivered by Police Scotland and People First Scotland in formats that suit the needs of transport operators.
The success of the Charter will be monitored through baseline surveys with the three key operators (First Bus, Scotrail and Stagecoach) and followed up to gauge increased awareness and understanding of hate crime.
Additionally, Disability Equality Scotland received funding from the Ferries Accessibility fund to run a separate pilot with Caledonian MacBrayne and Northlink ferry operators; to design and implement policy and guidance which challenges hate crime on the ferry network, encouraging reporting and working with transport staff to increase knowledge and awareness of hate crime.
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