BY Peter Diamond | June 22 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

3-HATE-CRIME

Anti-Catholic abuse amounts to half of all religiously aggravated hate crimes in Scotland

A spokesman for the church said: ““Catholicism still accounts for half of all religious hate crimes in this country, a statistic which is profoundly depressing bearing in mind that Catholics account for just over one eighth of the population.

The Catholic Church has said that new figures which show that Catholics make up half of all victims of religiously aggravated hate crimes are the ‘depressing reality’ of an ‘intolerant iceberg.’

The latest religiously aggravated offending in Scotland statistics, published by the Scottish Government on June 15, show that Roman Catholicism is the religion that was most often the subject of reported abuse, with 319 charges from 2017 to 2018.

This is a decrease of 17 per cent from 384 charges in the previous year, however it still amounts to half of all religiously aggravated hate crimes in Scotland.

A spokesman for the Church said the figures are ‘a single and very small measure of intolerance towards Roman Catholics in Scotland’ and that the true figures may be even higher.

“Catholicism still accounts for half of all religious hate crimes in this country, a statistic which is profoundly depressing bearing in mind that Catholics account for just over one eighth of the population,” he said.

“What the new figures show is that while the numbers have changed slightly the depressing reality of residual anti-Catholicism recurs the same. It is also worth stating that these figures do not reveal what the policing strategy, behaviours and targets are, and therefore they don’t always reflect accuracy.

“We need to keep in mind these are broad-brush strokes of an intolerant iceberg. A fuller view would require more details on prosecutions which were abandoned or information on police messaging which can result in prosecutions.”

Protestantism and Islam are the religions that were subject to the next highest number of aggravations from 2017 to 2018. There were 174 charges (27 per cent of total charges) related to Protestantism from 2017 to 2018; a small increase from 2016 to 2017, when there were 165 charges.

The Scottish Government ­publication stated that the number of religiously aggravated charges this year will have been influenced by the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. This legislation came into force on March 1 2012, and was repealed on April 20, 2018.

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