Rights groups round on Scottish ministers as report shows huge rise in hate crimes aggravated by disability and sexual orientation
Campaigners yesterday called for immediate action from the Scottish government after official figures showed a rise in hate crimes relating to disability and sexual orientation.
The Hate Crime in Scotland 2013-14 report shows that disability aggravated offences are up by 12 per cent on the previous year and sexual orientation aggravated crime has risen by 22 per cent.
Policy officer at the Independent Living in Scotland project Pam Duncan said the figures reveal more disabled people have been attacked, spat on and abused in the street in Scotland because they are disabled.
She said: “There are many reasons for this increase, including of course a rise in reporting, but to simply sit back and congratulate ourselves for supporting people to report these heinous crimes would be complacent and neglectful.”
Sally Witcher of disability charity Inclusion Scotland blamed “political statements intended to justify massive cuts to disability and sickness benefits that have cast disabled people as scroungers and a burden on society.”
Scottish government Equalities Secretary Shona Robison told LGBT and disability organisations in Glasgow yesterday that she condemned all forms of hate crime.
“No one should have to face discrimination or prejudice in any form in 21st-century Scotland. It is never acceptable and it will not be tolerated,” she said.
Ms Robison said the government was running an awareness campaign to help encourage people to report such crimes and setting up third-party reporting centres across Scotland.
Director of Stonewall Scotland Colin MacFarlane said: “The sad reality for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scots is that that they face hate crime every day at home, in their communities and their workplaces.”