The Scottish Government defines Hate Crime as crime committed against a person or property that is motivated by ‘malice or ill-will towards an identifiable social group’.
You can be a victim of a hate crime if you believe that someone has targeted you because of their prejudice against certain characteristics.
In Scotland, the law currently recognises hate crimes as crimes motivated by prejudice based on:
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity
You do not need to be a member of a minority community to be a victim of hate crime. The law is quite clear that the identity of the victim is irrelevant as to whether something is a hate crime or not. The motivation of the perpetrator is the key factor in defining a hate crime.
Hate Crimes can take a number of forms, including, but not limited to:
- Threatening behaviour
- Verbal abuse or insults including name-calling
- Damage to property
- Encouraging others to commit hate crimes
- Online abuse on sites like Facebook or Twitter