People in Renfrewshire are being urged to help eradicate hate crime by reporting any acts they witness, as National Hate Crime Awareness Week (13th -20th October) gets underway.
In the last year, over 5,300 charges of hate crime were reported to the Procurator Fiscal nationally, with many other incidents not being reported to the police. In Scotland, the law recognises hate crimes as motivated by prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and disability.
The Scottish Government and Police Scotland Hate Crime campaign has been launched to encourage witnesses of hate crime to report to Police Scotland by calling 101, 999 in an emergency or online. Witnesses and victims are also being encouraged to report hate crime via local third party reporting centres if they prefer not to talk to the police.
Campaign research reveals that over 80% of people in Scotland would report a mugging of an elderly lady or a house break in in their street to the police. However, only 43% would report online bullying due to someone’s religion and just over half of people would report intimidating or humiliating behaviour towards a transgender person (54%) or racially motivated verbal abuse or name calling (53%).
The campaign features a series of thought provoking ‘letters’, written from the perspective of hate crime witnesses describing the experience of victims, stating that ‘your hate has no home here’. They are signed ‘Yours, Scotland’ in order to encourage those who read it to report hate crime if they witnesses it – therefore helping to create ‘One Scotland’ where hate crime and prejudice is not tolerated.
The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell, said: “A series of letters have been appearing across Scotland in the lead up to National Hate Crime Awareness Week which makes it clear that any form of hate crime or prejudice is not welcome in Scotland.
“Scotland is a great place to live, work and study. It should be a welcoming diverse environment where people can go about their day without fearing discrimination. Everyone must play their part to challenge hate crime. Please help us eradicate it by standing up and saying that hatred is not welcome here – report it to stop it.”