The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has today released the first year’s figures on the number of criminal charges in Scotland where the crimes were aggravated by sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
In the first year since the implementation of the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009, 448 charges were made with an aggravation of sexual orientation; 14 with an aggravation of gender identity. The figure for crimes aggravated by religious prejudice – a factor on which police have been reporting for five years – was 693.
The number of homophobic and transphobic incidents could actually be much higher. Research conducted by Stonewall Scotland showed that the majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who’d experienced a hate crime did not report this to police; a quarter of those who did not report stated that the incidents did not seem worth reporting because it was just part of life as an LGBT person in Scotland.
Carl Watt, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said:
“These figures give us an indication of the prejudice that still exists across Scotland towards people due to their sexual orientation or gender identity; prejudice which has no place in modern Scotland. Strong leadership and a visible commitment is now required from the Scottish Government to tackle this prejudice and ensure it is removed from our schools, from our football terraces, from our streets.”
“It is essential that these crimes are reported and recorded to build an accurate picture of this problem. We also call for a more thorough breakdown of the statistics, including types of crime, geographical location and any repeat offences. We continue to work with Scotland’s police forces to encourage all victims and witnesses to come forward.”
Notes to Editor