Offence of hate crime – transgender: Scotland

When was protection from trans hate crime introduced?

Protection from hate crime for LGBT people has followed along behind protections on more established grounds, such as sex and race. LGBT people experience high levels of hate crime. It has taken years and much campaigning for the law to do something about this.


The Criminal Justice Act 2003 came into force in April 2005. The Act instructed courts to recognise hostility at the time of an offence. That included hostility towards someone of a particular sexual orientation or someone who is transgender. Using the Act the punishment for someone who commits a homophobic and biphobic hate crime can increase. An increase of punishment for a transphobic hate crime was not included in the Act. In Scotland that changed in 2009.


What are hate crimes?

Hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. Until 2009 if a person was attacked for being trans or because the attacker thought they were trans then it was treated like any other crime.


Is hate crime an offence?

There are no specific offences of transphobic hate crime. Instead, the people who commit crimes are arrested and/or charged depending on the nature of the offence. For example, if someone assaults you because you are a trans woman they would be arrested and/or charged with assault.


How does hate crime affect sentencing?

The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 allows an increase in the penalties for a transphobic hate crime. An offence can be ‘aggravated’ by having a hate element. The motivation of hate, based on actual or perceived transgender identity is considered during sentencing. The Act also includes the motivation of hate to someone of a particular sexual orientation.


What is the National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership?

The National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership brings together 35 LGBT organisations from across England, Wales and Scotland. The project is run by the LGBT partnership on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).


The Equality Network is a member. It wants to let LGBTI people living in Scotland know that the law is there to protect them. They work with Police Scotland and the Crown Office to make sure that they support people in the best way possible if they report an incident.


An independent review of hate crime in Scotland published a report in May 2019.