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Government Announces New Measures to Tackle Sectarianism

The Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing, has announced that an independent working group is to be established to look at the scope for establishing a legal definition of ‘sectarianism’ in Scots Law – potentially making it easier for police and prosecutors to tackle sectarian related crimes.

The formation of the group follows recommendations by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, and it is apparently to be chaired by Professor Duncan Morrow.

“Sectarianism must be tackled with the same conviction as every other hate crime,” explained Ms Ewing. “Since 2012 we have delivered an unprecedented range of activities to tackle the issue across Scotland, which have made a significant impact – and this latest funding builds on these achievements.”

“I thank Professor Morrow for taking forward the important work to consider the legal definition of sectarianism and I look forward to the working group’s recommendations,” she added.

The Scottish Government has also recently announced that is to provide £515,000 in funding for nine projects focused on helping to reduce and prevent sectarianism in communities by delivering education in schools and workplaces, including:

  • Teacher and youth work training
  • Engagement with online communities
  • A school pupil exchange programme to Northern Ireland’s Corrymeela community

The new initiatives build on previous Scottish Government investment – which to date has supported 108 organisations to deliver anti-sectarian education – and bring total funding for this work to £13.5 million in the past six years.

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If you have been charged with a criminal offence, including sectarian or other hate crimes, then contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today.