How are the SNP tackling sectarianism in Scotland

The SNP Scottish Government understands the importance of education in eradicating hate crime and speech, including sectarianism, from modern Scottish society.

We have invested £13.5 million investment to a range of programmes over the last six years  – more than any other government. Much of the funding for tackling sectarianism has been invested in nationwide community projects and in efforts to understand the specific causes and impact of sectarianism in Scottish society.

Last year, the Scottish Government asked Lord Bracadale to conduct an independent review of hate crime legislation.

In particular, Lord Bracadale will consider and provide recommendations on:

  • Whether the current mix of statutory aggravations, common law powers and specific hate crime offences is the most appropriate criminal law approach to take
  • Whether the scope of existing laws should be adjusted, including whether the religious statutory aggravation should be adjusted to reflect further aspects of religiously motivated offending
  • Whether new categories of hate crime should be created for characteristics such as age and gender (which are not currently covered)
  • Whether existing legislation can be simplified, rationalised and harmonised in any way, such as through the introduction of a single consolidated hate crime act
  • How any identified gaps, anomalies and inconsistencies can be addressed in a new legislative framework, ensuring this interacts effectively with other legislation guaranteeing human rights and equality

The review’s consultation exercise closed in November 2017.

Additionally, acting on recommendations of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, Professor Duncan Morrow will chair an independent working group to look at the scope for establishing a legal definition of ‘sectarianism’ in Scots Law – potentially making it easier for police and prosecutors to tackle the issue.