Hate Crime Scotland

Working in Partnership for a safer Scotland

Hate crime is any crime motivated by prejudice based on: Race, Religion, Sexual orientation, Disability, Transgender identity.

If you need immediate help always call 999


  • "The Scottish Government believes that there is no excuse for any form of hate crime: it is simply not acceptable and it will not be tolerated." Scottish Government
  • In 2012 – 13 an average of 51 Hate Incidents per week were recorded by the Police in Glasgow
  • In Scotland there were 170 hate crime charges recorded per day in 2013/14
  • Stonewall Scotland research found that, 2 out of 3 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people have experienced either a verbal or physical attack
  • According to the Stonewall Gay British Crime Survey, three quarters of those who experience homophobic hate crime do not report it to the police
  • "For many disabled people, harassment is a commonplace experience. Many come to accept it as inevitable." Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Inquiry into Disability-related harassment
  • We estimate that only 20-50% of racist incidents are reported to the police
  • An average of 10 charges of racial crimes per day were reported in Scotland in 2015-16
  • An average of 10 charges of racial crimes per day were reported in Scotland in 2015-16
  • An average of 108 hate crime charges per week were reported in Scotland in 2015-16
  • The number sexual orientation aggravated crimes reported in Scotland increased by 20 percent in 2015/16, compared to last year
  • The number of religiously aggravated charges reported in Scotland in 2015-16 increased by 3 percent compared to last year
  • The number of charges reported relating to disability in Scotland rose by 14 percent in 2015-16
  • In Scotland, the number of religiously aggravated charges where Islam was noted almost doubled, from 71 in 2014-15, to 134 in 2015-16



There is a growing understanding of the impact of hate crimes on individual victims and increasingly an awareness of its negative affects on whole communities, social groups and countries. Research consistently shows that some social groups are disproportionately victims of harassment and crime and that much of this is motivated by prejudice against those groups. We recognise that while damaging for the individuals who experience the hostility, good relations are  undermined more generally by these incidents as they create mistrust and suspicion between communities. This makes hate crime an issue for every service and every community. The Scottish Government has identified tackling hate crime and sectarianism as a priority within the Scottish Strategy for Justice. Public agencies such as local authorities along with Police Scotland are responsible for working together to address this. Community Safety Glasgow is responsible for this website. Along with our partners, we are working to increase awareness of hate crime, prevent hate crime from happening, encourage reporting when it does happen and ultimately put a stop to hate crime. This website is a national resource focused solely on hate crime, it will:

  • Provide Victims and Witnesses with information and practical help
  • Improve Hate Crime Reporting
  • Promote Third Party Reporting
  • Locate research, policy documents and publicly available statistics, in a single access point
  • Give access to awareness raising and information resources
  • Improve networking around hate crime
  • Support national activity to address hate crime across community safety partners

What to do if you are the victim or witness to a hate crime

If you experience or witness an incident that you perceive to be motivated by prejudice, we strongly encourage you to report it to the police. No matter how trivial or unimportant you may think it is, the police will take your complaint seriously and will record an incident when you choose to report it. You can report a non-emergency incident to the police:


What is Third Party Reporting

Many people, for various reasons, are reluctant to report crime directly to the police. For hate crime victims and witnesses, there are often additional barriers to reporting. Third Party Reporting has been put in place to help victims and witnesses of hate crime overcome these barriers. You can report a hate crime without contacting the police in person, through a Third Party Reporting Centre. Third Party Reporting Centres are safe and supportive places where you can discuss an incident or concern. If you want to report an incident to the police, the Third Party Reporting Centre can do this on your behalf. The police act on this as if they had received the report directly from you. You can find out more about Third Party Reporting on our Report It page

What happens next

The police will record the incident that you have reported and then carry out an initial investigation to determine whether the incident falls under the legal definition of a crime or breaches any statutes. If it does, it will then be recorded as a crime. The police will then carry out a crime investigation. This will involve interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects, looking at other sources of evidence such as CCTV footage or forensic evidence. If they believe they have enough evidence to support a prosecution they submit a report to the local Procurator Fiscal. The Procurator Fiscal (PF or Fiscal) works for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), which is the body responsible for prosecuting crime in Scotland. The Procurator Fiscal (PF) considers the police report and decides if there is sufficient evidence to proceed. If there is, the Procurator Fiscal will then decide what, if any, action it is appropriate to take. Actions range from prosecution in court, direct measures such as warnings, fiscal fines, compensation offers and social work diversion. The Procurator Fiscal can also decide to take no action. When this happens, the victim can ask for an explanation of the decision. If court proceedings are appropriate, the Procurator Fiscal will decide which court these should be taken in. This decision will depend on the nature of the offence, the sentencing powers of the respective courts and whether the accused has a criminal record.