Victims of hate crime in Scotland are being urged to come forward and report their attacks as part of a new campaign.
'Speak Up Against Hate Crime', launched by the Scottish Government, aims to empower victims and witnesses of crimes based on race, religion, disability, sexuality or gender identity.
“It’s extremely important for victims or witnesses of hate crime to speak up and have their voices heard. We take a zero tolerance approach to incidents of hate and Police Scotland is working hard to gather information on people suspected of committing hate crime acts. Ultimately, reporting hate crime assists not only with that particular incident but also helps prevent it happening to others. [The campaign] will raise awareness of what a hate crime is, and give victims the courage to speak up while ensuring perpetrators of this damaging prejudice are clear these acts are unacceptable.”
– Roseanna Cunningham, Community Safety Minister
Between 2012 and 2013 there were more than 4,000 racially aggravated charges of hate crime reported, with a rise in reported incidents relating to religion, disability and sexual orientation.
Local policing divisions are working to gather intelligence on people suspected of committing a hate crime.
"Police Scotland treats hate crime as a high priority and would urge any victim or witness to report it to allow us to thoroughly investigate and deal robustly with offenders. We recognise the impact hate crime can have on individuals, families and communities and will treat each case sensitively, using specialist officers and services where appropriate."
– Superintendent Gavin Phillip, Police Scotland
To report incidents of hate crime members phone the Police on 101, or 999 if it is an emergency, or report in person at any Police office.
A campaign to raise awareness of disability hate crime is being launched in Cumbria.
The joint campaign between Cumbria Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is being run over eight weeks, after discussions showed that a large amount of hate crime goes unreported.
A meeting was held with disabled people and disibility groups after figures showed that only 17 disability hate crimes were reported to police in Cumbria in 2012, in comparison to 166 reports of race hate crime.