Top judge tells Scotland to recognize gender and age as hate crime factors

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Scotland should become the first country in the UK to legally recognize that age and gender can be motives for hate crimes, the top judge insists. A report by Lord Bracadale, a retired senior judge, said offences involving hostility on the grounds of gender and age should be covered by hate crime legislation, which currently includes only race, religion, disability, sexuality and transgender status. “My report is intended to enable Scottish politicians to debate the issues involved and to encourage public discourse,” Lord Bracadale said, insisting that the civilized society means that people are living together, treating one another with the necessary respect and dignity, regardless of differences, any differences. “Of course, legislation will not change attitudes on its own but it can do two things. First, clearly-defined hate crime legislation and well-developed procedures in the criminal justice system to deal with it will increase awareness of hate crime and give victims more confidence that it will be taken seriously by the police, prosecutors and the courts. Secondly, it can contribute to attitudinal change,” the judge concluded.

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