Hate Crime 2.0: Online reports of abuse in Scotland

New technology, similar patterns of abuse.

That was the biggest surprise I unearthed in a recent Freedom Of Information request returned by Police Scotland.

44% of hate crimes reported via a new online form to Police Scotland were committed digitally through social media, websites or email. These were primarily racially- and religiously-motivated. The more ‘traditional’ methods of perpetrating hate crime, such as verbal abuse and vandalism, accounted for only 30% and 5% of the 245 incidents reported between 1 April and 22 December 2013.

This is one of the downsides of the internet: anonymity encourages abuse and trolling by cowards.

A recent Guardian article discussed the alarming levels of racially- and religiously-motivated hate crime in England and Wales — but failed to touch upon the extent of abuse happening online. Interestingly the Guardian published another article two days later outlining how women are now being increasingly targeted via Twitter.

Holly Dustin, director of End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) said in the latter Guardian article: “Rape threats online should be treated with the same seriousness as if they happened in the street or on the bus. They need to treat abuse online in the same way as they do offline.”