Date lodged: 7 March 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of (a) claims that a culture of denial exists regarding the extent of problems caused by sectarianism and (b) recommendations that a review of hate crime legislation should consider how sectarianism and sectarian incidents could be integrated into a more general approach.
Answered by: Annabelle Ewing 15 March 2017
As part of his independent ‘Review of the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland’, Dr Duncan Morrow, former Chair of the Advisory Group, gathered evidence from a wide range of sources across Scottish society, including all political parties represented in the Scottish Parliament, and presented a number of constructive findings and recommendations. This highlighted concerns that a culture of denial and a lack of urgency exists in some quarters when it comes to tackling sectarianism.
It is very clear from the review that, while progress has been made, more work remains to be done to eradicate sectarianism and that we all have a responsibility to meet this challenge. I welcome Dr Morrow’s Review and will give full consideration to the findings and recommendations.
I am aware that a number of organisations, such as the Law Society, Stonewall and the Equality Network, have expressed support for the idea of consolidated hate crime legislation. That is why I have commissioned the independent ‘Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland’ to ensure that all communities subjected to hate crime have appropriate regress to law and that our legislation is fit for the 21st century. The review, which began on 30 January 2017, will consider all hate crime legislation, including legislation which supports tackling sectarianism. I look forward to Lord Bracadale presenting his findings in due course.