for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality

New stats reveal extent of homophobic hate crimes in Scotland

Actual figures could be higher due to lack of reporting

Charity calls for strong stance on tackling homophobia and transphobia

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

  • Stonewall Scotland works to achieve equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
  • The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 was implemented on Wednesday 24th March 2010.
  • The COPFS publication, ‘Hate Crime in Scotland, 2010-2011’ shows that court proceedings were commenced in all 14 transgender identity charges and that 86% of the sexual orientation charges led to court proceedings.
  • A full copy of the publication can be accessed here.
  • Our 2010 research report into community safety, ‘How Safe are You?’ showed that two thirds of LGBT Scots had been the victim of verbal homophobic attacks and one third had experienced a physical attack. Of those that had experienced a physical attack 70% did not report it; 88% of victims did not report a verbal attack.
  • To help address the problem of under reporting, Stonewall Scotland has offered every Scottish police force rainbow flag stickers to show to the public that the police force has made a commitment to equality for everyone and to taking reports of hate crime seriously.
  • Information on reporting hate crimes, including remote and third party reporting facilities, can be found in the guide Halt Hate Crime, which can be found here.
  • Hate crime targets people because of their identity. It is a form of discrimination that infringes human rights and keeps people from enjoying the full benefits of our society.  They are also unique in that they send out messages to entire groups - as well as to their families and other supporters - that they are unwelcome and unsafe in particular communities.

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