The public is being asked to play its part in tackling hate crime in Scotland by speaking up and reporting offences.
Police Scotland is undertaking a week-long awareness campaign to highlight the impact this kind of abuse can have on victims with, on average, around 6,000 people per year being affected by hate crime.
Hate crime is defined as any crime motivated by malice or ill will towards an individual or social group, on the basis of their actual or presumed sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race/ethnicity or religion/beliefs.
Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan, Head of Safer Communities, said there is a number of reasons that incidents of hate crime is not reported including the ‘normalisation’ of this kind of behaviour.
He continued; “I am very clear, however, when I say this behaviour is not normal or acceptable and it will not be tolerated.
“One of the key aims of this campaign is to highlight what is a hate crime and to increase confidence in reporting these incidents. Under-reporting contributes to inequality and intolerance and we are determined to address this. Ignoring the problem can often make it worse.
“Hate crime is a key priority for Police Scotland. The deep personal impact it can have on victims, their family, friends and on entire communities cannot be underestimated.”
Incidents can be reported at any police station or by telephoning 101. There are also more than 400 third party reporting sites across Scotland, which offer support to report. A full list of these can be found on the Police Scotland website at http://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/hate-crime-and-third-party-reporting/