HATE CRIME REVIEW: AGE, GENDER AND INTERSEX COULD BE ADDED TO HELP TACKLE HARASSMENT

The review of hate crime legislation in Scotland has recommended the inclusion of intersex as a separate category, rather than a sub-category of transgender, in what could be a legal first for the UK.

Led by Lord Bracadale, the review also calls for the Scottish Government to update the definition of transgender identity, introduce new categories of hate crime by gender and age, as well as clarify the law further to include any hostility towards an individual or specific community.

Hate crime laws in Scotland currently cover race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity, albeit in several different Acts. The review recommends these are all brought under one single piece of legislation.

Scottish Government Ministers have announced they will now consider all the proposals and take any changes out to public consultation.

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ScotGov Minister, Annabelle Ewing

Minister for Community Safety, Annabelle Ewing, said:

“I am grateful to Lord Bracadale and his team for completing such a thorough piece of work.”

“We agree that Scotland’s hate crime laws should be consolidated into a single piece of legislation. The Scottish Government will use this report as a basis for wider consultation with communities and groups across the country, on how to bring forward new legislation that is fit for the 21st century.”

The review was launched in January 2017 and included 457 responses from individuals and groups, as well as 17 public meetings across the country, from Shetland to Dumfries.

Fee, an intersex campaigner who runs Scotland Against Intersex Surgery, told us:

“I welcome the proposals from Lord Bracadale and it would be really positive to see intersex as a separate hate crime. I’ve lobbied MP’s and MSP’s for several years for this change to happen, so I’m hopeful that the Scottish Government, and in time the UK Government, will give intersex people the rightful protections they deserve.”

Colin Macfarlane, Director at Stonewall Scotland told us:

“We welcome the recommendations set out by Lord Bracadale in his review of hate crime legislation in Scotland. Stonewall Scotland had three key main asks from the review: A single piece of hate crime legislation, a clearer definition of hate crime and an updated definition of transgender, with intersex issues addressed as a separate characteristic. We are pleased that Lord Bracadale has agreed with these and has recommended these changes to Scottish Ministers.”

The recommendations also include calls for the law to include stirring up hatred, often seen online. Lord Bracadale recognised in his report that inciting others to hate a specific group through threatening or abusive behaviour should be considered a hate crime. Current laws only apply this definition to stirring up racial hatred.

Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network said:

“We welcome the report and we hope that their Scottish Government will soon introduce a bill to update the law. We are pleased at the recommendation to update the existing law on hate crimes that target transgender people and those that target intersex people, recognising the difference. And we welcome the proposal for a new offence to deal with the stirring up of hatred through threatening or abusive conduct. This will fill a gap created by the repeal of the non-football related provisions of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act. Changing the law is not the whole answer though; more needs to be done to further improve responses by police, prosecutors and courts, and to encourage people to report crimes to the police.”

You can read the summary report here:

http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0053/00535937.pdf

Or the full report and analysis of the responses here:

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/05/2988/downloads

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