A campaign aimed at helping victims of hate crimes come forward has been relaunched by the Scottish Government.
The Hate Crime: Report It To Stop It campaign was brought back to coincide with Hate Crime Awareness Week, which runs from Saturday 10th to Saturday 17th October.
In Scotland, 5,200 instances were reported to the Crown Office last year, with the Scottish Government looking to push people to report hate crimes they may have suffered.
Carried on posters, radio and social media, the campaign features letters from the people of Scotland to perpetrators of hate crime, telling them ‘your hate has no home here’.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “The Scottish Government takes all forms of hate crime seriously.
“It negatively impacts on individuals and communities so we must all play our part to challenge hate crime and help shape the inclusive and respectful society we all wish to live in.
“If you experience or witness a hate crime, whether it’s physical or verbal, online or in the streets, please report it.
“You can do this by calling the police or by using their online reporting form. You can also use one of Scotland’s many third party reporting centres, or report anonymously through Crimestoppers.”
The campaign was relaunched in partnership with Police Scotland.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said Scotland “would not tolerate” a crime perpetrated against someone because of a protected characteristic, adding: “We will investigate any allegation of hate crime whether from a victim or a bystander.
“We encourage anyone who has been targeted, or witnessed anyone else being abused in this way, to contact the police either in person, by telephone or via third party reporting centres, as detailed on our website.”
The revival of the campaign comes as a controversial hate crime Bill is making its way through the Scottish Parliament.
Critics of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill have said that the legislation will chill free speech due to its ‘stirring up hatred’ offence and the Catholic bishops of Scotland raised concerns that possessing the Bible could become an offence under the proposed legislation.
However, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf pledged to amend the legislation, meaning that only instances of intentional stirring up of hatred will be covered.
Mr Yousaf said: “The law should protect vulnerable groups and minorities which is why we brought forward the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill.
“The Bill, which is currently before parliament, will increase confidence in policing among those communities affected by hate crime, by making it clear to victims, perpetrators, communities and to wider society that offences motivated by prejudice are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Picture: Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, Scotland. (Roger Pilkington).