for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality

Stonewall Scotland welcomes Government support for Hate Crime Bill

Stonewall Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government announcement of their backing for a hate crime bill.

The bill, which was introduced in October by Patrick Harvie MSP, will ensure a judge knows when a crime is motivated by anti-gay hatred.

Director of Stonewall Scotland Calum Irving said: “Scotland’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender  community have waited a long time for homophobic hatred to be tackled head on and this announcement is therefore very welcome.

“It’s time we sent a clear message that anti-gay hate is never acceptable in a modern Scotland.”

More than two thirds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland have been verbally abused because of their sexual orientation or gender identity – and more than a quarter have been physically assaulted in surveys conducted by Stonewall Scotland and other LGBT organisations.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Stonewall Scotland, the lobbying group for LGBT equality, was formed in 2000.

2. The ‘Beyond Barriers’ survey published in 2003 found that 23% of LGBT Scots had been subject to physical abuse and 68% to physical abuse because they are LGBT.

3. The proposed bill will introduce a statutory aggravation to cover crimes motivated by malice or ill will on the grounds of sexual orientation, transgender identity and disability.

4. In 2004 a Scottish Executive Working Group recommended anti-gay hate crime legislation should be introduced– but the Executive decided not to follow the recommendation.

5. Similar legislation has been in place in England and Wales since 2005.

6. In Scotland there are already similar protections in place for crimes aggravated by racial or religious prejudice.

7. In  2006 in the Lothian and Borders police force area, there were more than twice as many reported incidents of homophobic hate crime as faith based incidents - 75 homophobic incidents compared to 36 faith based. But there is a statutory aggravation for faith based hate crimes, and none for those based on sexual orientation.

8. The measures proposed are supported by ACPOS, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and four Scottish parliamentary parties.


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