A new ad campaign is being rolled out in Scotland confronting homophobic and transphobic hate crime.
The provocative ads were produced by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland as part of the One Scotland campaign, a bold new project which seeks to reduce the risk of hate crime.
The ads, which have begun to appear across Scotland ahead of the campaign’s official launch on Wednesday, directly challenge people with hateful beliefs in the form of a letter, signed on behalf of Scotland.
One states: “Dear transphobes, do you think it’s right to harass people in the street? Right to push transgender people around in clubs? Right to humiliate, intimidate and threaten them online? Well we don’t.
“That’s why if we see you doing harm, we’re reporting you. We believe people should be allowed to be themselves. Except if they’re spreading hate.
Another says: “Dear homophobes, we have a phobia of your behaviour.
“If you torment people because of who they love, shout word that we are not going to write, or use violence because you don’t like who someone is holding hands with, you should be worried.
“If we see or hear your abuse, we’re calling the police. That’s because love lives in this country, not hate.
Further ads take aim at racists and people who discriminate against disabled people.
The One Scotland campaign explained: “Police Scotland takes hate crime very seriously.
“In the last year there were over 5,300 charges of hate crime reported to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. However, there are many more incidents that go unreported.
“We all have a responsibility to report hate crime if we witness it – it’s the only way we can challenge it, and put an end to it for good.
“There’s no place for hate in Scotland. Report it to stop it.”
The ads earned praise from Stonewall Scotland, who hailed the “great leadership” of the Scottish government on the issue.
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The Scottish government said the campaign would run across “radio, outdoor, press, PR, social media and digital advertising.”
Justice minister Humza Yousaf said: “As somebody who has faced Islamaphobic and racial abuse over the years, I know how upsetting being a victim of hate can be. Hate crime and prejudice are completely unacceptable and we are absolutely committed to tackling it.
“We all have a role to play in stamping out prejudice and I would ask anyone who witnesses a hate crime to play their part and report it. Justice agencies such the police and Crown Office will deal sensitively with reports made and people should have confidence in how they will be treated. Last year there were over 5,300 charges of hate crime reported to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland but there are still many incidents that are going unreported.”
Chief Superintendent John McKenzie said: “Police Scotland treats all hate related crimes and incidents as a priority. It is recognised that hate related crimes and incidents pose a significant threat to victims, their friends, families and wider communities and the potential impact of such crimes cannot be underestimated.
“We continue to work tirelessly to ensure we respond to all reports of hate crime and I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of, or witnessed, a hate crime to report it. In an emergency calls should be made to 999 otherwise incidents can be reported through 101 or via third party organisations, details of which can be found on the Police Scotland website.”
Henrietta Mochrie, a repeated hate crime victim, said: “I’ve experienced so many incidents of hate crime because I’m transgender.
“I’ll often get street harassment, sometimes this has escalated to the point where I’ve been followed by people shouting abuse at me, just because of who I am.
“It makes me feel really down and scared to leave the house. It’s important that if you witness hate crime that you report it to take a stand against hate.”