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Sexual orientation and disability hate crime ‘has doubled in ten years’

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Sexual orientation and disability aggravated hate crime has doubled in Scotland in ten years, according to a new report.

Official statistics published by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service brought together figures on race crime, and on crime motivated by prejudice related to religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity, reported under legislation which was in force up to March 31, 2024.

The total number of charges reported containing at least one element of hate crime in the year 2023-24 was 5,992 – 1.5% more than the previous year, and the highest number reported since 2011-12.

The report found that sexual orientation aggravated crime is the second most commonly reported type of hate crime.

The proportion of hate crime charges containing prejudice that relates to sexual orientation has increased from 16% in 2014-15 to 30% in 2023-24.

The number of charges related to sexual orientation reported in 2023-24 was 1,818, a decrease of 5.7% compared to 2022-23. 

This is the first year the number of charges reported has decreased since 2014-15 but it is still 12% higher than the number in 2020-21.

While the majority of hate crime charges reported contain a racial element, the proportion has generally decreased over the last ten years, from 73% in 2014-15 to 57% in 2023-24.

However, the proportion of hate crime charges that relate to disability has increased from 3% to 15% over the last ten years, overtaking religious prejudice in 2021-22 to become the third most commonly reported type of hate crime.

The number of disability aggravated charges was 903 in 2023-24, an increase of 22% compared to 2022-23. 

This is the highest annual number of charges reported since the legislation creating this aggravation came into force in 2010 and continues an almost unbroken upward trend in the numbers since then.

Overall, in 2023-24 3,392 charges relating to race crime were reported, an increase of 4.6% compared to 2022-23. 

The 2023-24 total is the highest figure since 2015-16, although it is still 25% lower than the peak in 2011-12, when 4,547 charges were reported.

There were 84 charges reported in 2023-24 with an aggravation of transgender identity, compared to 67 in 2022-23. 

This is the second highest annual number of charges recorded since this legislation came into force, two fewer than the 2021-22 figure of 86.

But the proportion of charges relating to transgender identity in 2023-24 was 1%.

Charges containing prejudice relating to religion was 9%.

Both of these percentages have remained relatively stable over the last ten years.

There were 523 charges with religious aggravation reported in 2023-24, 12% fewer than in 2022-23. This is the lowest annual number of charges reported since 2004-05.

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