Crimestoppers is urging people to report incidents of hate crime across Scotland.
Hate crime is thought to be massively under-reported, which is why the charity is urging the public to come forward.
Many people accept some incidents as ‘part of life’ and do not realise that the abuse they are suffering or witnessing is a crime. They may also mistakenly believe that nothing will be done about it.
Incidents can be motivated by race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. Victims may be subjected to physical assaults or suffer damage to their property. They may also experience the threat of an attack or verbal abuse.
Over the period May-September 2017 compared to December-April 2017, Crimestoppers experienced an 88 per cent increase in calls and contacts relating to hate crime in Scotland which included: a 50 per cent increase in information on Islamophobia and a 40 per cent increase in information on Racism.
Angela Parker, national manager for the charity Crimestoppers Scotland, said: “Together we can help to ensure Scotland is a tolerant nation for all. Hate crime has a terrible impact on victims. It is totally unacceptable to attack or threaten someone because they identify as a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, or have a disability.
“We urge anyone who has information about the perpetrators of this crime to contact us anonymously. We understand it’s not easy to step up and report someone, especially if they’re a close friend or family member, but we do not take personal details and we can’t trace information given to us by phone or online.
“We’re a charity that gives people the power to speak up to stop crime. We won’t ask for any personal details including your name. When you hang up the phone (0800 555 111) you’re done.”