Back in 2003, the then Scottish Executive set up a Working Group on hate crime to look at ways of combating crime motivated by social prejudice based on disability, sexual orientation, age and gender. The working group had the following remit:
- To look at the current criminal justice system and consider improvements, including legislation, which might be made to deal with crimes based on hatred towards social groups.
The group produced a consultation paper in January 2004 and published a report of its recommendations in October 2004.
The then Executive published its response in 2006.
Further information on the operation of the Working Group can be found through the links at the left hand side of the page.
The main recommendation of the Working Group was the introduction of a statutory aggravation for crimes motivated by malice and ill will towards an individual based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability.
In November 2007, Patrick Harvie MSP submitted a proposal for a Member's Bill to implement the recommendation of the Working Group. In January 2008, the Scottish Government announced its support for Mr Harvie's Bill and it was taken forward as a handout Member's Bill.
The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Bill was subsequently introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 19 May 2008. The Bill was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament on 3 June 2009. The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 came into full force on 24 March 2010.