Reporting a hate incident or hate crime
If you’ve experienced a hate incident or hate crime, you can report it to the police. You can also report it if you saw a hate crime happen to someone else.
You can contact the police directly, or you can use an online form on the Police Scotland website.
If you’re not sure if what happened was a hate crime, you can check if something is a hate crime.
Before you report a hate incident or hate crime
You might want to contact Victim Support Scotland before you report the incident to the police.
They can provide you with information, and emotional and practical help, throughout the process. There is more information on the Victim Support Scotland website.
What to say when you report a hate incident or hate crime
The Police Scotland reporting form tells you what information you need to give when you report the incident.
It’s important to give as many details as possible - this will help the police investigate your case. You might want to include:
- information about the incident - such as when, where and how it happened
- details about the attacker - what they looked like, what they were wearing and anything said
- if anyone else was involved - for example, if there were witnesses or if other people were also attacked.
How to report a hate incident or hate crime
You can report it online, by phone or in person.
If you want to report it online, you can complete the hate crime reporting form on the Police Scotland website.
To report it in person, you can go to your local police station. You can find your nearest police station on the Police Scotland website.
To report it to the police by phone, call 101. If it’s an emergency call 999.
If you can’t hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say using Relay UK. To use Relay UK, dial 18001 then 101.
If you don’t want to report it to the police
If you don’t want to contact the police, you can ask someone else to report it for you, like a friend or family member.
You can also ask an independent organisation to report it to the police for you. This is known as third party reporting.
After you report a hate incident or hate crime
After reporting the incident, the police will:
- give you an incident reference number - you can use this when you want to contact them about your case
- carry out an investigation - they will submit a report to the Procurator Fiscal if there is evidence to support a prosecution.
The Procurator Fiscal will decide if there is enough evidence to proceed with the police report and what action should be taken.
Action could include a warning, fines, compensation or going to court.
If you’re not happy with how the police deal with your case
You can make a complaint online by using the online complaint form on the Police Scotland website.
You can complain about:
- staff behaviour
- quality of service.
If you think the police treated you unfairly because of something like your race, sexuality or disability, this might be discrimination. You can check what to do if you think the police discriminated against you.
You can read more about complaints and legal action against the police.
Get more help
If you’ve experienced any hate incident or hate crime, you can get support from Victim Support Scotland. Find out how to get support on the Victim Support Scotland website.
There are some national organisations that can help you if you’ve experienced a specific type of hate crime - for example, a transphobic hate crime.
If you’re LGBTQ+
If you’ve experienced a homophobic or transphobic hate incident or hate crime, you can get support from galop on their website.
If you’re Muslim
If you’ve experienced an Islamophobic hate incident or hate crime, you can get support from Tell MAMA on their website.
If you’re Gypsy, Roma or Traveller
If you’ve experienced a racist hate incident or hate crime, you can get support from Friends, Families and Travellers on their website.
If you’ve experienced sectarianism
If you’ve experienced sectarianism, there is advice and information for different age groups from Action on Sectarianism. You can check what is available on the Action on Sectarianism website.