What is a hate crime?

The Scottish Government define a hate crime as a criminal offence motivated by hostility or prejudice on any of the following:

•    Race
•    Religion
•    Disability
•    Sexual Orientation
•    Transgender Identity

A hate crime can include intimidation, verbal assault, harassment, threats, or physical assault.

A hate incident is behaviour which isn’t a crime, but which is perceived by the victim, or anybody else, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on the 5 protected characteristics, noted above.

Hate crimes have damaging effects on the victims, their families, and communities. It's important that hate crimes are challenged and reported. Evidence of the hate crime is not a requirement.

You do not need to personally perceive the crime to be hate related. If another person, a witness or even a police officer thought that the incident was hate related, this can still be reported.

What is sexual misconduct?

Sexual Misconduct encompasses a broad range of inappropriate, unwelcome behaviours of a sexual nature. It covers all forms of sexual violence, including: 

•    engaging or attempting to engage in sexual intercourse or a sexual act where consent is not or cannot be given
•    sexual harassment (unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which violates your dignity; makes you feel intimidated, degraded, or humiliated or creates a hostile or offensive environment)
•    inappropriately exposing oneself to another person
•    stalking, leering’ or unwanted and inappropriate sexual propositions, whether in person, or online
•    abusive, degrading and/or sexually explicit comments
•    sharing another person's private sexual materials without their consent
•    intrusive photographs without permission, for example upskirting

And a vast range of other behaviours. 

If you have an experience which is not covered by these definitions, or you are unsure of the nature of your experience, we can support you. All of these behaviours are equally unacceptable.

If this happens to you, remember that you are not to blame. It was not your fault, and you are not alone.

Please seek support and remember anyone can report at any time.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when someone treats you unfairly because of who you are. Under the Equality Act 2010, it's against the law to discriminate against anyone with the following protected characteristics:

•    age
•    race
•    religious beliefs
•    disability
•    marriage or civil partnership
•    pregnancy and/or maternity
•    sex
•    sexual orientation
•    gender reassignment

If you’re treated unfairly because someone thinks you belong to a group of people with protected characteristics, this is also unlawful discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 also protects people in your life, like family members or friends that have a protected characteristic and you're treated differently because of that. This is called discrimination by association.

What is harassment?

Harassment is unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 if it’s because of or connected to one of these things:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

In line with the Equality Act, harassment is unwanted behaviour that is meant to or has the effect of either violating your dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Examples of unwanted behaviour could be, but is not limited to: 

  • Intentional physical and/or verbal abuse including embarrassing or derogatory remarks, jokes, name-calling, and obscene gestures. 
  • Ridiculing an individual because of physical differences, the way they present their masculinity or femininity, in terms of dress or attitude.
  • Making stereotypical assumptions about colleagues, friends or members of the public based on their sexuality.
  • Deliberate interference with wheelchair or support equipment. 
  • Racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist 'jokes', or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender.
  • Outing or threatening to out someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans.
  • Ridiculing an individual because of the way they dress or their religious observance customs. 
  • Using blasphemous or offensive language against any religion or belief, or making inappropriate or derogatory references to religious figures or customs. 
What is bullying?

Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour to gain power over another person, and make themselves more dominant. Bullying can take the form of repeated behaviour or a single action. Someone's actions may still constitute as bullying, regardless of intent.

Examples of bullying include, but are not limited to: 

  • shouting at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others 
  • overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision 
  • inappropriate and/or derogatory remarks about someone's performance 
  • abuse of authority or power by those in positions of seniority 
  • coerce through fear or intimidation
  • deliberately excluding someone without good reason

Important to note: There are differences between bullying and assertive management. Bullying is always unfair and may undermine someone’s efforts to perform well. Assertive management, on the other hand, may involve setting demanding – but fair and achievable – targets and standards of behaviour appropriate to someone’s job, grade, and level of responsibility.