Hate Crime Scotland

Working in Partnership for a safer Scotland

If you need immediate help always call 999


  • The Procurator Fiscal reported an average of 110 hate crime charges per week in 2016/17.
  • 59% of hate crimes reported by the Procurator Fiscal in 2016/17 were racially motivated.
  • The Procurator Fiscal reported an average of 9 charges of racially motivated crime every day in Scotland in 2016/17.
  • The number of religiously motivated charges reported by the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland increased by 12% in 2016/17, compared to the previous year.
  • Roman Catholicism was the subject of reported abuse in 57% of religiously motivated charges in 2016-17.
  • In 2016/17 the number of charges where conduct was derogatory towards Islam decreased by 16% compared to 2015-16, from 134 charges to 113 charges.
  • Protestantism was the subject of reported abuse in 165 charges in 2016-17, which is 19% of the total religiously motivated charges.
  • 30% of all hate crime charges in Scotland in 2016/17 are reported by the Glasgow Fiscal Office.
  • 28% of all Racially aggravated crime charges in Scotland in 2016/17 are reported by the Glasgow Fiscal Office.
  • In 2016, an Equality Network Survey found that 64% of LGB respondents had experienced hate crime.
  • A Scottish survey of LGBT hate Crime Victims in 2016 found that only 1 in 10 incidents were reported to the police.
  • There were 1075 sexual orientation aggravated charges reported by the procurator fiscal in 2016-17, a 5% increase on 2015/16.
  • "There is absolutely no excuse for hate crime and prejudice. The Scottish Government is committed to tackling it – wherever it happens, whenever it happens and whoever it happens to." Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security & Equalities
  • "I would like to assure anyone affected by hate crime that they live in a society in which law enforcement agencies will ensure any report is treated with the utmost seriousness." Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC
  • "I would always encourage anyone who has been the victim of hate crime in any form, whether because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ethnicity or any other individual circumstance, to come forward and report it to the police. It is only through reporting offences that we can form a more complete picture of the issue and address is in the most robust manner possible." Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan, Head of Safer Communities, Police Scotland
  • 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
  • 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


This website provides information and resources relating to crimes motivated by prejudice, or hate crime.

There is growing understanding among services that crimes motivated by prejudice have a damaging effect on individuals and communities.

Social isolation, feelings of anger, shame and embarrassment, mistrust, depression, fearfulness and anxiety are all common reactions for victims of hate crime. These in turn can impact on many areas of life including employment, education, health, housing, relationships and ability to fully participate in society.

The harm of hate crime goes further and we recognise that the impact of hate crime extends beyond the individual victims who experience the hostility, to whole communities and social groups. Good social relations generally are undermined by hate crimes, as they create mistrust and suspicion between communities. This makes hate crime an issue for every service and every community.

The Scottish Government has made it justice strategy priority to enable communities to be safe and supportive, where individuals exercise their rights and responsibilities. This means that promoting good relations and tackling hate crime should be a priority for public agencies such as local authorities, as well as Police Scotland. We are all responsible for working together on the government’s priorities for justice.

What Is hatecrimescotland.org ?

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.

Although Community Safety Glasgow has a local focus on the city of Glasgow, the website includes information focused on hate crime that is useful nationally.

The website aims to:

  • 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 hate crime awareness raising and information resources
  • Improve networking around hate crime
  • Support 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.