Reporting a hate crime

Hate crime targets people for who they are. It is a personal crime with a clear message.

A hate crime is where the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity is the motivation behind a crime.  

How to report

Many people experience hate crime associated with their sexual orientation or gender identity. If you experience this, you are protected by the law in Scotland.

You can report a hate crime to the police or through a third-party reporting centre like Waverley Care.

Contact the police in-person or over the phone by calling 101 (non emergency) or 999 (emergency). If you are nervous about reporting directly to the police, we can support you to report anonymously or be with you when you give information or make a statement.

A list of third-party reporting centres is available here. You can get in touch with us by filling out our contact form or phoning 0131 652 3250.

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Types of hate crime

A hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a protected characteristic. This includes race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status or a disability.

Examples of hate crimes include:

  • Emotional harm, for example verbal abuse, bullying or being threatened or intimidated in any way linked to your sexuality and/or identity.
  • Physical or sexual harm, including physical assault, inappropriate touching or non-consensual sex.
  • Use and publication of intimate images of your body and sex you are having without giving consent.
  • Graffiti or vandalism targeted at your home or belongings based on your sexuality or gender identity.
  • Abuse to your friends or family because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.


After reporting a hate crime

After you report a hate crime to the police, they will will investigate and obtain evidence. The Crown Prosecution Service decides if someone should go to court based on the evidence. This includes taking a decision on whether there is enough evidence to prosecute a crime as a hate crime.

If the offender pleads guilty, the victims and witnesses may not need to go to court. In Scotland, you can get support through Victims Support Scotland if you are a victim of a hate crime or other assault. Citizens Advice can also give witnesses help when they go to court.


Looking for support?

If you are looking for tailored support and advice for gay, bisexual and all men who have sex with men, we're here to help. Get in touch by filling out our contact form.

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