Report demonstrates need for hate crime law in Scotland

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A report commissioned by Lothian and Borders Police has found that 15% of gay men in Edinburgh have been attacked in the last year.

One in four of the 150 men questioned said they had been the victim of homophobic violence in the last five years.

The report was carried out last April by health psychology professors from Queen Margaret University.

Callum Irving, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “Sadly, we’re not surprised at these figures. Studies generally show that a quarter of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people have experienced physical violence.”

7% of lesbians questioned said they had been assaulted physically or sexually in the previous 12 months.

Last week MSPs, police chiefs, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and gay rights activists welcomed the announcement that the government in Scotland will support an extension of the country’s hate crimes legislation to protect LGBT people and the disabled.

The Sentencing of Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Bill was proposed by Patrick Harvie, a Scottish Green MSP.

It will bring Scotland into line with England and Wales, where courts have been able to impose tougher sentences for offences committed due to the victim’s disability or sexual orientation since April 2003.