What Is Hate Crime?

Police Scotland say that hate crime is an offence.  An offence is something that is against the law.

If you are a victim of crime and you or someone else thinks it was because of your

  • disability
  • race or ethnicity
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender identity

this is a hate crime.

Here are some examples of what Police Scotland say is a hate crime:

  • verbal abuse like name-calling and nasty jokes
  • harassment
  • bullying or intimidation by people of any age
  • physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing, spitting
  • threats of violence
  • hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages or hate mail
  • online abuse, for example, on Facebook or Twitter
  • writing or sharing stories or posters that say nasty things about someone
  • harm or damage to things such as your home, or a pet or car
  • graffiti
  • deliberately setting fire to your property
  • throwing rubbish into a garden
  • making a false complaint against you.

What Is Disability Hate Crime?

Police Scotland logo

If you are a victim of crime and you or someone else thinks it was because of your

Disability then this is a disability hate crime.

If someone has been violent or nasty to you because you are disabled, or because they think you are disabled, then you have been the victim of a hate crime.

This can happen to you anywhere.  Sometimes you might know the person who attacked you or it might be a stranger.

A disability hate crime is when the victim or someone else thinks it happened because of bad feelings about disabled people.

This means that if you think something is a hate crime, the person you tell will record it like that.

I Am Me Scotland – www.iammescotland.co.uk

I Am Me Scotland is a community charity which works in partnership with Police Scotland to raise awareness of Disability Hate Crime and make communities safer for all. Disability Hate Crime is recognised as one of the most under reported types of crime in the UK, with an estimated 97% currently going unreported.

I Am Me and Police Scotland have worked in partnership to develop the award winning ‘Keep Safe Initiative’ which aims to create safe places for disabled or vulnerable people to use to seek assistance, if required, while out in the community. There are currently just under 1,000 Keep Safe places across Scotland including a range of business, shops, libraries, cafes, community buildings and so much more! You can find a list of all Keep Safe places on the free ‘Keep Safe Scotland’ App.

The Keep Safe Scotland App can also be used to report a hate crime directly to Police Scotland, using an online reporting form. This is a discrete way to report concerns to the Police, with the added option of reporting anonymously. The app can also be used to call Police directly on 999 (emergency) or 101 (non-emergency).

A Keep Safe card is also available for free for anyone who feels they benefit from it. The card can be folded behind a bus pass or inserted neatly inside a wallet/lanyard. Keep Safe cards detail an individual’s name, health conditions/disability, communication requirements, emergency contact details and any other helpful information that someone may need to know to provide assistance. To request a card please contact iamme@renfrewshire.gov.uk

I Am Me also raise awareness of disability, bullying and hate crime in primary schools and secondary schools through various educational resources. To find out more about the bespoke educational packages or face-face inputs available please contact iamme@renfrewshire.gov.uk

People First (Scotland)


People First (Scotland) works to support people with learning difficulties to have more choice and control over our lives.

They have produced a video about recognising hate crime:

Police Scotland – BSL Video

Sergeant Grant Robertson uses British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate information about hate crime and how to report.

How do I report it?

Disability Hate Crime is one of the most under reported hate crimes in Scotland.

Charities like Mencap and Quarriers say that 97% of this type of crime never makes it to the Police.

Please click here for more information about how to report a hate crime.