BY SCO Admin | November 18 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11-BISHOP-TARTAGLIA

Catholics most likely to be the victims of bigoted crime

Paisley bishop says newly released Crown Office analysis of sectarian offences made for depressing reading and that a a fresh approach to sectarianism is needed

Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisely has said the Crown Office analysis of sectarian offences, released today, proves Catholics are far more likely to be the victims of bigoted crimes than other Scots.

Bishop Tartaglia said the publication of the Crown Office analysis of sectarian offences—behaviour, he said, that has ‘no place in a civilised society’—made for depressing reading  as they recorded 400 religious motivated crimes against Catholics in the financial year 2010-1011. This was nearly 60 per cent of all crimes of this nature.

“Catholics will take little comfort from the fact that they were previously five times more likely to suffer a sectarian attack than anyone else and are now 4.5 times more likely,” the bishop said. “Since Catholics represent just 16 per cent of Scotland’s population, the fact that they account for almost 60 per cent of the victims of sectarian crime reflects poorly on modern Scotland and is an indicator of entrenched hostility on a worrying scale.”

The bishop added that it was disappointing it had taken so long for these figures to be released.

“Although it has taken five years and repeated requests and in spite of the fact that in the intervening period hundreds of Crown office documents have been destroyed thus preventing a more complete and balanced analysis,” he said. “This report does nonetheless make a useful contribution to the sectarianism debate.”

The report also shows only 13 per cent of sectarian offences occurred near a football stadium, a fact Bishop Tartaglia said shows the need for a fresh approach to sectarianism.

“It remains the case that the overwhelming majority of sectarian incidents are not football related,” he said. “Therefore, far more engagement is needed with the church in future by all public authorities committed to the eradication of religious intolerance. I restate the willingness and the readiness of our church officials to assist Strathclyde Police in their efforts to understand and monitor religiously aggravated behaviour.”

—Read the Crown Office report at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/11/17154035/0

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