This report presents information about religiously aggravated offending in Scotland in 2015-16 based on a review of police charges issued under section
74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. The Act4 states that an offence is aggravated by religious prejudice if: 

a) at the time of committing the offence or immediately before or after doing so, the offender evinces towards the victim (if any) of the offence malice and illwill based on the victim‟s membership (or presumed membership) of a religious group, or of a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation; or 

b) the offence is motivated (wholly or partly) by malice and ill-will towards members of a religious group, or of a social or cultural group with a  perceived religious affiliation, based on their membership of that group.

Research aims

This report presents a breakdown of the charges reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in 2015-16 to provide insight into the nature of religiously aggravated offending in Scotland. The research sought to find out the age and sex of the accused; who the offensive conduct was directed towards; where the incidents took place; if they were related to alcohol, drugs, football, marches or parades; which religions were targeted; and the provisional court outcomes of charges.

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