Any form of hate crime towards our LGBTI communities is completely unacceptable.
Although the rise in recorded hate crimes may be driven by the willingness of victims to report incidents, we are not complacent and remain committed to building inclusive communities. We are providing more than £3 million in funding between 2021 and 2024 to tackle inequality and realise rights for LGBTI people.
Our recent report shows the progress that we and partners have made in tackling prejudice and fostering community cohesion. We will continue to work with stakeholders to co-create a new hate crime strategy, to guide how we tackle hatred and prejudice in Scotland.
I share the cabinet secretary’s sentiment. There is simply no place in Scotland for intolerance and hatred of that nature. However, with more than 7,500 incidents reported since 2014, the picture for many in the LGBTI community is often grim.
Will the cabinet secretary commit to undertaking an analysis of the underlying causes of the stark rise in case numbers? Is it a rise in verbal or online abuse or—and worse—a rise in physical attacks? What is the Scottish Government doing to ensure that Police Scotland has trained LGBTI liaison officers in all parts of Scotland to support the victims of those horrid crimes?
I am willing to do that and to report back to the member. Police Scotland is part of the strategic partnership group on hate crime and is actively involved with other stakeholders in the development and implementation of the new hate crime strategy.
We are committed to understanding the causes of such crimes and ensuring that we respond fully to them. We know that hate crime, including that related to sexual orientation, remains significantly underreported and that it is unlikely that the figures reflect the community’s true experience. Involving stakeholders in developing our new hate crime strategy will help us to tackle many of the barriers that communities face in reporting incidents.
I am happy to report back to the member about the specifics of what he asked.