Glasgow City Council has passed a motion condemning all forms of Hate Crime and pledging to enlist volunteer Hate Crime Ambassadors.
The motion, proposed by Bailie Fariha Thomas, was adopted at a meeting of the Full Council. In it, the council committed to defending the rights of everyone in Glasgow to live free from fear and discrimination.
A Hate Crime is any crime motivated by prejudice or hate against a person because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.
Glasgow's Hate Crime Working Group is drawing up a strategy to prevent Hate Crime, raise awareness of the issue, encourage more people to report incidents and make it easier to do so at a network of Third Party Reporting Centres.
Councillor Thomas, Chair of Glasgow's Hate Crime Working Group, said: "Hate Crime destroys lives and devastates communities, yet it is something that many people do not talk about.
"It attacks an individual's identity and can have an appalling and devastating impact on victims. People who experience such crimes can feel isolated and vulnerable and suffer from significant emotional and physical stress as a consequence."
However, Glasgow is a welcoming and tolerant city, which is leading the way in tackling Hate Crime in Scotland. Last October, the nation's first Hate Crime Awareness Week was held in Glasgow and the city's Central Station became the first train station in the country to become a Third Party Reporting Centre. There are now more than 60 Third Party Reporting Centres in Glasgow including housing associations, Victim Support, Glasgow Disability Alliance and Glasgow Asylum and Refugee Service. These are safe places where staff have been trained by Police Scotland to provide help and support. An advertising campaign was also launched urging anyone affected to report it. The Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC also attended a recent event for community and Third Sector groups entitled "Don't Stay Silent". He stated that prosecuting Hate Crime was a priority and urged victims to report incidents.
In adopting the Motion, the council committed to recruit volunteer Hate Crime Ambassadors from across the council family who will help raise awareness of the issue among their colleagues and partner organisations and build on efforts being made by the Hate Crime Working Group to tackle under-reporting.
Cllr Thomas said: " I strongly believe that the decency and tolerance of the overwhelming majority of Glaswegians will ensure that we will continue to make significant progress in the eradication of Hate Crime. Through our efforts, together we can ensure that the voices of those affected can be heard."
The Hate Crime Working Group is a multi-agency strategic group which includes Glasgow City Council, Community Safety Glasgow, Police Scotland, Fire & Rescue, housing agencies and the Third Sector. It is part of the Community Planning Structure.