I’m surprised at the Law Society’s reaction. As far as I’m aware, hate crime legislation does not really impact the nature or lengths of sentencing, but addresses the need for greater monitoring of hate-motivated crimes, allowing the police to target high-incidence areas with increased community safety interventions.
However, I think that creating statutory punishments for hate crimes is logical. If a person commits an act of violence on another person, purely motivated on a predujiced view of the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disabilty, then the entire community associated with that identity is at risk. The perpetrator therefore presents a greater risk to society than someone who commits an act of violence on a person due to a reason personal to those individuals e.g. a dispute over money. It is not to say that perpetrator in the second situation is any less deserving of punishment that someone who commits a hate crime, but they are likely to pose less of a threat to fewer people than the hate crime perpetrator.
Anyway, it’s about time Scotland’s laws were brought into line with those of the rest of the UK.
I agree with you, Andrew. And it also sends a message to wider society that such hatred is not acceptable. It’s not funny to abuse someone because of their sexuality, it’s not a joke, and picking on someone because of their sexuality or gender identity is bigotry every bit as much as victimising someone because of the colour of their skin.