LGBTI people in Scotland may expect more governmental protection from hate crime, according to a report released last Friday by the country’s Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion.
The group, which was established by Scottish ministers in 2015 to advise on the current state of these issues in Scotland, and to make practical suggestions for tackling them, highlighted recommendations in the areas of education, public transport, the Internet as well as the workplace. In particular, the report suggested developing teachers’ capacity around promoting diversity and involving young people in the process. The report also recommended for the Scottish Government to work with key stakeholders – transport providers to better protect those experiencing hate crime on public transport; employer bodies to improve methods to prevent, detect and respond to hate crime in the workplace; as well as other stakeholders to better monitor and respond to online hate crime and prejudice.
The recommendations coincide with interim findings of an ongoing survey conducted by Equality Network, the country’s LGBTI equality and human rights charity. Current findings of the survey, which explores Scottish LGBTI people’s experiences of hate crime, show that 63% of LGBTI people have been the target of a hate crime, the majority of which happened in the last year. The findings also show that 29% of LGBTI people have also been physically attacked because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
‘Attitudes towards the LGBTI community in Scotland have greatly improved over the years, but hate crime is still a serious concern for many LGBTI people,’ said Hannah Pearson, the network’s Policy Coordinator.
Pearson added: ‘We welcome the 22 recommendations from the Independent Advisory Group, and look forward to continuing to work with both the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to ensure they are implemented fully’.
The network also welcomed the role that Police Scotland have in tackling hate crime, where according to the network’s interim findings from the survey, 70% of LGBTI people who have experienced a hate crime did not report the incidents to the police.
A study done in 2015 by the network together with the country’s official tourism organization, Visit Scotland, suggested that only 3% of gay and transgender travelers surveyed would think of Scotland first when considering LGBTI destinations around the world.
The full report released by the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion can be found here. The Equality Network’s hate crime survey is also still open for responses, and can be found here.