Attendees and apologies
- Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Equalities and Older People
- Age Scotland
- Equality Network
- Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
- Interfaith Scotland
- Police Scotland
- Youthlink Scotland
- Glasgow Disability Alliance
- Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland (EHRC)
- SHRC (Observer)
Scottish Government officials - Hate Crime Policy Team, Connected Communities Division
- Neil Meehan
- Jo Gillies
- Katy Betchley
- Brian Hirst
- Ross Mccleary
- Lucy Allan
- Rachael Wilson
- Education Scotland
Items and actions
Welcome and introductions
The Minister welcomed members to the first meeting of the Hate Crime Strategic Partnership Group (SPG) which will help steer the development of a new Hate Crime Strategy for Scotland, to be published later this year.
The Minister thanked organisations for the work undertaken in successfully implementing the vast majority of the actions in the Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Plan, and for their valuable contributions during development and passage of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021.
The Minister noted the changing nature of hate crime in Scotland and that there is still much to be done, with an estimated 17 to 18 hate crimes being reported each day. Now is a good time to take stock of and determine the best approach going forward to tackling hate and prejudice in Scotland.
Terms of reference
The Minister noted that a draft terms of reference had been shared and highlighted that a collaborative approach is essential to tackling deep rooted prejudice and hate. Characteristics protected under Scotland’s new hate crime legislation – age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics – are all represented on the SPG.
It was agreed the voices of those with lived experience of hate crime are central to the development of a new strategy. Suggestions on how to do this included engagement with membership organisations and networks, creation of a sub-group and participation in SPG meetings. The group noted the need to ensure people were empowered to participate in a safe way, ensuring appropriate support is provided. A number of organisations are happy to share good practice. The group also agreed the need to ensure we are considering issues of intersectionality as we develop the strategy. It was also noted that we should consider how the SPG represents wider society.
There was discussion about where some clarity is required in the terms of reference, including reference to the independence of the different organisations on the group, and ensuring that while the group should be aware of ongoing work to tackle misogyny, that this is separate from the Hate Crime Strategy.
The group raised disaggregated hate crime data and whether the group should have oversight of the processes involved in the collection and publication of this data.
Action – Members to share reflections on the terms of reference with the secretariat with a view to a revised version being circulated for clearance.
Development of the Hate Crime Strategy
The Minister invited members of the group to share their key priorities in the development of a new Hate Crime Strategy for Scotland.
Members considered the need to raise awareness of hate crime – what it is, how it impacts individuals and how to report it. Concerns were also raised around online hate and how to tackle it.
A number of organisations felt there was more to do to encourage reporting and improve the experience of victims when they do report, including interactions with the police and the wider criminal justice system. It was noted that the HMICS report on hate crime offered a number of key recommendations that should be considered. It was also noted that third part reporting still needs to be improved.
The importance of education – both formal and informal – was identified as a key priority for a number of organisations, including capacity building for those working with young people, with examples of good practice we can build on. To inform the strategy, there is a clear need to speak to young people and the range of experiences they may have with regards to hate crime and the criminal justice system. Members also raised concerns about hate crime in schools and how the work of this group can provide guidance on this issue.
Members of the group raised the need for disaggregated data to help inform a new strategy. It was noted that a study into the characteristics of hate crimes recorded by the police in 2020 to 2021 will be published later this year. The Hate Crime Act, once in force, will also require Scottish Ministers to provide more detailed information on hate crime. As such, Police Scotland are ensuring that their ICT systems can adequately capture this data. Police Scotland offered an input at a future meeting on Police Scotland’s approach to hate crime as well as their understanding of preliminary hate crime data for 2021 to 2022.
BEMIS proposed collaborating to host a Hate Crime Conference to coincide with Hate Crime Awareness Week (8 to 15 October), fully led by those with lived experience.
The Minister noted that Scottish Government officials will arrange a series of bilateral discussions to explore themes raised in more detail. These discussions will help inform a work plan for the group, including an engagement plan.
Action – Secretariat to arrange bilateral discussions with members of the SPG.
Date of next meeting
The group will meet every two months, depending on business, with the next meeting expected to take place in mid-June.
The Minister noted that the Scottish Government would issue a tweet explaining that the first meeting of the group had taken place.
Action 1: members to share reflections on the terms of reference with the secretariat with a view to a revised version being circulated for clearance
Action 2: Secretariat to arrange bilateral discussions with members of the SPG
Ownership: Scottish Government
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