People across Scotland are being asked to play their part in eradicating hate crime by speaking up and reporting offences.
Police Scotland is undertaking a week-long awareness campaign to highlight the impact this kind of abuse can have on victims.
Scotland is proud of having a diverse and multi-cultural population, however on average, around 6,000 people per year still become victims of hate crime.
Hate crime is defined as a crime perceived as being motivated by malice or ill will towards an individual or particular social group, on the basis of their actual or presumed sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race/ ethnicity or religion/ beliefs.
Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan, Head of Safer Communities, Police Scotland, said: “There are a number of reasons why people don’t report incidents of hate crime, including the ‘normalisation’ of this kind of behaviour. However, I am very clear when I say this behaviour is not normal or acceptable and it will not be tolerated.
“One of the key aims of this campaign is to highlight what is a hate crime and to increase confidence in reporting these incidents. Under-reporting contributes to inequality and intolerance and we are determined to address this. Ignoring the problem can often make it worse.
“Hate crime is a key priority for Police Scotland. The deep personal impact it can have on victims, their family, friends and on entire communities cannot be underestimated.”
Hate crime can be reported at any police station or via 101. There are also more than 400 Third Party Reporting Sites across Scotland, which offer support to report. A full list of these can be found on the Police Scotland website.