An Examination of the Evidence on Sectarianism in Scotland: 2015 Update

This paper provides an update to the summary of evidence on sectarianism that was published by the Scottish Government in 2013. It summarises some of the evidence that has been collected since then, including information about public attitudes to sectarianism in Scotland, qualitative research in communities where sectarianism was perceived to exist either currently or in the past, research to understand the impact of public processions on communities, and further analysis of the 2011 census, the Scottish Household Survey, and the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey.

The paper begins by providing an overview of religious affiliation in Scotland before examining data on perceptions and experiences of sectarianism. In exploring the extent to which sectarianism actually presents itself in Scotland, it draws on national data on sectarian-related crime and evidence about expressions of sectarianism in different locations and situations. Given the limited research on the experience of sectarianism, the paper also explores, the question of whether there is any evidence of structural disadvantage for Catholics in Scotland.

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