Views sought on proposals to modernise hate crime laws

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A proposed new law to include offences based on age and gender in hate crime legislation is being put out to consultation.

The public will be asked to give their views on hate crime in order to inform a new Bill which will be presented at Parliament.

A review into existing hate crime legislation was published in May this year by Lord Bracadale.

The One Scotland: Hate Has No Home Here consultation will run until February 24 and will focus on modernising the legislation around hate crime.

It will aim to provide a clear and consistent basis for prosecuting hate crime.

Lord Bracadale’s review included recommendations that additional statutory aggravations should be created for age and gender.

How best to tackle gender based prejudice and misogyny and the issue of sectarianism will also be considered within the consultation.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf met with young people affected by hate crime on Wednesday morning.

He said: “Hate crime and prejudice are completely unacceptable and we are absolutely committed to tackling them.

“The public’s voice is absolutely crucial in this process and we are determined to take this opportunity to shape our legislation so that it is fit for 21st century Scotland.

“We know that legislation in itself is not enough to build the inclusive Scotland we want and aspire to, but having robust law in place is vital so that it is clear to all that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in society.”

Cabinet Secretary for Communities Aileen Campbell said: “Hate crime and prejudice have a hugely damaging effect on victims, their families and communities and there is absolutely no place for it in Scotland.

“Scotland’s diversity is our strength and I’m proud that our nation is becoming an increasingly open and inclusive place to live. However, we also recognise that intolerance and prejudice remain and that more needs to be done.

“We are absolutely committed to modernising our hate crime legislation and I look forward to considering all responses to our consultation, I am confident that together we can build a stronger, more connected Scotland.”

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said: “Crime motivated by hatred is not only a wrong against the individual, but it is an affront to our collective values as a community, creating division and fear.

“This is why we treat hate crime so seriously and why, as Scotland’s independent public prosecution service, the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service will continue to do so.

“We are committed to tackling hate crime.”

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