Scottish Government Hate Crime Bill Team: The meeting
Categories: Past Event Articles
Thursday January 28 2021
The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill provides for the modernising, consolidating and extending of hate crime legislation in Scotland. This Scottish Government Bill was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP, on 23 April 2020.
At stage one of the Bill’s journey through Scottish Parliament, there was an opportunity for all to provide feedback on the Bill and to meet with the Hate Crime Team to discuss the Bill in more depth. MEND endeavoured to get involved in all possible ways, providing written and oral evidence to the Justice Committee and arranging meetings with the team.
Even with this, MEND felt that not enough emphasis had been placed on the need to get involved with the process by the wider community and that there was a real lack of outreach to those communities who could potentially be most affected by the Bill such as the Muslim community. To this end, a meeting was arranged for the end of January with the Hate Crime Team and Muslim community groups and organisations.
Around 12 differing organisations were in attendance, including Muslim Council of Scotland, which represents over 60 Muslim organisations across Scotland; AMINA Muslim women’s resource centre, supporting women across Scotland; Scotland’s 3 Regional Equality Councils and many others.
The meeting started with a brief overview of the Bill by the Hate Crime Team. This included a look at the amendments that have been implemented and those that have been proposed both by the government and non-government, like the removal of Section 5 Offences of possessing inflammatory material.
The main part of the meeting was a Q&A session, where attendees were able to pose questions and concerns to the team. Many questions were focused on data collection. That data is appropriately captured, ensuring that categories go deeper than main protected characteristics, for example, religion is divided into subsections of type of religion. The need for efficient distribution of information and data was also highlighted. With commentators stating that the current annual based provision of data was not sufficient for the provision of support and relevant working with victims of hate crimes.
Further discussions highlighted the need for proper and equal protection under the Bill for all communities, and the intersectional nature of hate crime, especially in relation to Islamophobia and racism. Also discussed was prosecution under the Bill and additional aggravations.
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