Scotland

Hate crime victims and witnesses urged to tackle 'blight'

Multi-cultural street scene Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Agencies say hate crime is under reported and want more people to act

A new campaign to tackle the 'blight' of hate crime in Scotland has been launched.

"Hate has no home in Scotland" aims to increase public understanding of what hate crime is, and how to report it.

The new drive is backed by the Scottish government, Police Scotland and the Crown Office (COPFS).

More than 5,300 cases of hate crime were reported in Scotland over the past year, with many other incidents going unreported.

The campaign has been launched during Hate Crime Awareness Week and will run until 26 November.

'Eradicate'

Agencies say they want to encourage more reporting by people who experience hate crime and those who witness it.

Launching the campaign, Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: "We all need to play our part to eradicate hate crime, which has no place in Scotland.

"'Hate has no home' encourages and empowers people to recognise hate crime and report it, stopping this discrimination at its source.

"That is particularly important when people are bystanders - no one should be a passive witness when one of our fellow citizens is attacked because of who they are."

Ch Supt John McKenzie, of Police Scotland, said: "There is no place for hate in Scotland and it is our communities, who will lead the way in tackling hate crime with the support of police, the government and other partners.

"Hate crime is under reported, we want to change that and we are asking people not to be bystanders. "

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

"That is why we treat it so seriously and why we will continue to do so."

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