THE “alarming” rise in the number of hate crimes based on a person’s sexual orientation is being fuelled by right-wing “culture war narratives”, the Scottish Greens have said.

Figures released on Tuesday showed the proportion of charges aggravated by someone’s sexuality has more than doubled, rising from 16% in 2013-14 to 33% in 2022-23.

The statistics also revealed that charges against people subjecting disabled people to hate crimes because of their condition is the highest on record.

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Charges for disability-related hate crime went up by 3% in 2022-23 to 722, taking it to the highest recorded level since current laws came into force in 2010.

Meanwhile, racism charges remained the most common, with 3145 charges relating to race crime made in 2022-23, a 2% fall compared to the year before.

The Scottish Greens said the rise in hate crimes relating to sexual identity were being spurned on by the “spread of bigotry”.

The National:

Maggie Chapman (pictured above), the party’s equality spokesperson, said: “This is sickening. My heart and my solidarity go out to every single person who has been targeted and abused.

“It is no coincidence that these crimes are rising at a time when far-right and reactionary movements are growing and when toxic and poisonous smears are being normalised and encouraged by powerful people.

“Some of that hatred is being fuelled by politicians who know the impact of their words but are happy to throw our communities under the bus as part of a ‘culture war’ in order to score political points.

“We all have a responsibility to consider what we are saying and the impact that our words can have.

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“Prejudice ruins lives.

“We must all take seriously the responsibility we have to challenge and end the spread of bigotry and build a society where everyone is free and safe to be the people they are.”

The figures were released by the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) on Tuesday morning.

Dorothy Bain KC, the Lord Advocate, said: “We will not tolerate crime which damages the fundamental right of an individual to be exactly the person they are.

“As prosecutors, we take very seriously our responsibility to protect victims and members of the public from these hate-fuelled offences.”

Overall, the number of charges reported containing at least one element of hate crime was 5738 in 2022-23, which is 2% down on the year before.

While the majority of hate crime has a racial element, the proportion of charges aggravated by race has been falling over the last decade from 74% in 2013-14 to 55% in 2022-23.

The proportion of hate crime charges containing prejudice which related to sexual orientation has increased from 16% to 33% over the same period.

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And the figures show that the proportion of charges relating to transgender identity was 1%, a total of 55 reports.

It is the second highest on record, with a peak of 86 charges reported in 2021-22.

Between 2016/17 and 2020/21 the number of charges fluctuated between 40 and 52.