Did you know that Hate Crime is any criminal offence committed against an individual or property that is motivated by a person’s hatred of someone because of his or her actual or perceived race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or disability?

Hate Crime is wrong, it is against the law, and everyone has the right to live safely and without fear. No two individuals are ever the same – embrace individuality and help put an end to Hate crime by reporting it.

You can report a Hate Crime directly to Police Scotland as follows:

Third party reporting

In some cases victims/witnesses of Hate Crime do not feel comfortable reporting the matter directly to the Police and may be more comfortable reporting it to someone they are familiar with.

To ensure all victims/witnesses are able to report Hate Crimes, Police Scotland works in partnership with a wide variety of partners who perform the role of 3rd Party Reporting Centres. Staff within 3rd Party Reporting Centres have been trained to assist a victim or witness in submitting a report to the police and can make such a report on the victim/witnesses behalf.

There are 3 active Third Party Reporting Centres in Fife, you can contact any of the numbers below if you have witnessed or been subjected to Hate Crime:

Organisation  Address Contact number
 Clued Up, The Bunker  441 High Street, Kirkaldy, KY12SN  01592 858248
 Fife Migrants Forum  36 Kirk Wynd Kirkcaldy  01592 642927
 FRAE Fife  1 Victoria Road, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1DT  01592 204005

F.A.Q. / Myth-busting 

Hate Crime or Hate Incident – which is which?

The Scottish Government is currently carrying the Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland which recognises there is confusion in the terms used as “there is no single accepted definition of what constitutes a “hate crime” (Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland Consultation Paper – p6).

Police Scotland’s current “Hate Crime Standard Operating Procedure (2016)”) classify “hate crime” as:

  • “Any offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by malice or ill-will towards a social group”

If the allegation does not amount to a crime, the police will record it as a “hate incident” as:

  • “Any incident that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice”.

Why is the definition hate crime associated with race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or disability  and not all nine protected characteristics of the Equaliy Act 2010 (i.e. Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race Religion or belief, Sex, Sexual orientation)?

While public authorities like criminal courts and civil courts and tribunals must not discriminate against you because of a protected characteristic, Equality law does not apply to a decision not to a judicial act or to start, continue criminal proceedings or anything done in order to reach a decision not to start or continue criminal proceedings.

The terms ‘hate’ and ‘hatred’ have gradually entered criminal law over the past 30 years, and Scotland’s statutory criminal law relating to hate crime is based in the following 5 key acts:

This is why criminal proceedings for hate crime focus on actual or perceived race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

The discrimination law of the Equality Act 2010 is based on 9 main pieces of legislation:

Infringement of the Equality Act 2010 may end up in a civil court or tribunal when there is disagreement between people, businesses or other organisations that is not involving criminal law.

For more details see Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland Consultation Paper – Chapter 3) and EHRC Equality Act 2010 Vol. 3 of 7: Your rights to equality from the criminal and civil justice systems and national security , pg 24-29)

Why is there a review?

  • Taking the victim’s point of view, they might feel let down in their access to justice when, in some circumstances, the police initially record a crime as a hate crime because the victim or another person perceived it as such, but there turns out to be insufficient evidence to proceed with prosecuting it as a hate crime.
  • Organisations working with groups likely to suffer from hate crime, incidents or any form of discrimination might be working with their own definitions, leading to more confusion.
  • In Fife, the current working definition adopted by the Hate Incidents Review Group  is:
    • “Any incident which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice, hatred or ill will towards any social group.”

What happens next?

Fife Centre for Equalities has already argued in the initial review Questionaire Consultation) the need to simplify the terms used to address the current mix of statutory aggravations, common law powers and specific hate crime offences that complicates and replicates aspects of criminal law.