Glasgow remains the area with the most instances of hate crime in Scotland.
Brian Scott, development manager at Glasgow Disability Alliance, presented information on the prevalence of the problem to the Hillhead Area Partnership at a meeting at Glasgow City Council.
Mr. Scott, who is also a member of Glasgow’s Hate Crime Working Group, said: “The aim is to raise awareness of the issue in the city.”
He explained that there was still a lot of uncertainty around what hate crime actually was, especially as there is no formal offence of ‘hate crime’ in Scottish criminal law.
Mr. Scott defined the term as an assault “that is motivated by malice or ill will toward a social group”.
According to the most recent report from the Procurator Fiscal’s office, racially fuelled attacks are by far the most commonly reported form of hate crime, with nearly 4,000 recorded instances in the last year, followed by crimes aggravated by sexual orientation, religion and disability.
However, as highlighted by the recent efforts of the working group devoted to the issue, this city wide problem is being positively addressed.
In addition to events throughout Hate Crime Awareness Week at the beginning of October, an anti-racism march has been organised for St Andrew’s Day by the Scottish Trades Union Council (STUC).
STUC assistant secretary Helen Martin said: “Hate crime remains a stubborn problem within Glasgow and across Scotland. The debate around the EU referendum unfortunately gave legitimacy and a renewed confidence to those who hold racist views.
“Too many people in our society live in fear of racist abuse and violence.”
As well as measures to promote inclusiveness, there are over 60 third party reporting centres across the country which encourage victims of hate crime who are uncomfortable with approaching the police to come forward.
Glasgow Clyde College acts as one such centre.
A spokesperson from the college said: “We are committed to the promotion of equality, diversity and fairness within our local community.”
Specific figures on hate crime in the Hillhead area were unavailable from Police Scotland, but there has been a 21% decrease in hate crime reports across the city in the last six years.
Photo: dun_deagh, Flickr Creative Commons