Hate crime - Scottish Parliament

Nov 23, 2017 - should be done through education and training, so people are more .... Online bullying amounting to hate speech is rife ..... Project Coordinator.
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The Rt Hon The Lord Bracadale QC

T2.60 The Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Independent Review of Hate Crimes Legislation in Scotland Via email only:

Tel: 0131-348-5223

[email protected]

[email protected] 23 November 2017

Dear Lord Bracadale, Review of Hate Crimes Legislation in relation to children and young people in Scotland We are writing to you jointly as the Conveners of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee of the Scottish Parliament (EHRiC Committee) and the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee (EQU Committee) about children and young people’s experience of hate crimes. Background As outlined in the recent report of the Presiding Officer's Commission on Parliamentary Reform, it was recommended the committees of the Scottish Parliament should develop closer links with the relevant committees of the Scottish Youth Parliament given their elected and diverse nature. To that end, the EHRiC Committee recently held its first meeting with the newly elected EQU Committee of the Scottish Youth Parliament. One of the key issues to emerge from that meeting was the need for the views of young people to be considered as part of your Review of Hate Crimes Legislation. As a result, both Committees have agreed to make a joint submission to you. 1

Work of the EHRiC Committee of the Scottish Parliament EHRiC Committee was established as a Committee of the Scottish Parliament in June 2016 following the elections to the 5th Session of the Scottish Parliament. This is the first time the remit of a committee of the Scottish Parliament has brought together the responsibility for scrutinising policy in both the areas of equalities and human rights. Throughout 2017 the EHRiC Committee has utilised its inquiry work programme to focus on the issue of the human rights of children and young people in Scotland. A central part of this work has been our inquiry into prejudiced-based bullying and harassment of children and young people in schools. On 6 July 2017 the EHRiC Committee published its inquiry report: It’s Not Cool to be Cruel: Prejudiced-based bullying and harassment of children and young people in schools.1 This aim of the inquiry is to help place the voice of children and young people at the centre of public debate on the issue of prejudice-based bullying and harassment. The Scottish Government formally responded to the report on 1 September 2017 and the Scottish Parliament debated the findings and recommendations of the report on 15 November 2017. 2, 3 One of the major issues of concern to emerge from our inquiry was the unrecognised and unrecorded level of hate crimes which now seem to be occurring in the school environment in Scotland. Our inquiry highlighted numerous incidents of racism, sexism, disability prejudice, religious and ethnic prejudice, homophobic bullying, hate speech and physical and sexual harassment in schools. These appear equally widespread in both the physical and digital school environment. What is of grave concern to the EHRiC Committee is that while several of the cases we heard of ended up being reported to police because of a recognition of the potential criminal nature of a serious incident involving physical and/or sexual assault, many cases, which may constitute a hate crime, were not being recognised as such. As a consequence, such instances are not being recorded or reported to police. Also of serious concern to the EHRiC Committee is the failure to recognise an escalation of unrecognised hate crime in the education system. The inquiry took evidence of cases where young people had suffered multiple instances of racist or gender-based abuse, Ableism, Islamophobic or LGBTI-phobic inspired verbal or physical abuse which was viewed in the compartmentalised context of bullyin