Hate Crime


Hate Crime is a criminal offence committed against an individual or their property, because of their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. This information guide looks specifically at disability hate crime and how to report it.

What is hate crime?

Hate crimes can take place anywhere- at home, in public, or on the internet (ie. via social media).

Hate crime can include:

  • threatening behaviours
  • assault
  • robbery
  • damage to property
  • inciting others to commit hate crimes
  • bullying and harassment

A disability hate crime is when someone commits a crime against you because of their prejudice towards disabled people. 

The Equality Act defines a disabled person as “someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

The Equality Act includes special rules that ensure people with HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis are seen as disabled people from the point of diagnosis, rather than the point when the condition has an adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

How to report a hate crime

You can report a Hate Crime as follows:

Call 999 (emergency) or 101 (non emergency)

If you cannot make voice calls, you can contact 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile. Emergency SMS is part of the standard 999 service which has been designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech. You will need to register your mobile phone at emergency SMS before using the service.

Text phone or Talk By Text

Users can contact the emergency services by dialling ‘18000)’. This call will be connected to the 999 service and translated by a Text Relay Assistant.

Hate Crime Reporting Form

You can fill in the Police Scotland Hate Crime Form linked above to report non urgent hate crime which has occurred in Scotland.
Alternatively if you don’t want to contact the Police, you can report a hate crime to Crimestoppers through their online form or by phone on 0800 555 111.

Third Party Reporting

There are a number of Third Party Reporting Centres in Scotland. Staff within these centres have been trained to assist a victim or witness in submitting a report to the police and can make such a report on your behalf.

Tell someone

Such as a trusted adviser, friend or family member.

Advocacy Service

An advocate is someone who supports you to say what you want to say, or will say what you want to say when you are not able to do so. Find your local advocacy service by calling the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance on 0131 510 9410

Further information and useful contacts

Easy Read Guide to Disability Hate Crime
Victim Support Scotland
The Stop Hate websites contain useful information. Please note: Their online reporting schemes are not currently available in Scotland.

Information last updated on 18 March 2024. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.

If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.

Equality, Legal and Advocacy:Frequently Asked Questions

Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:

What can I do if I feel that I have been discriminated against?

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