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What is Action on Sectarianism?

YouthLink Scotland, the National Agency for Youth Work has set up the first independent public website designed to challenge sectarianism in Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government.

Accessible on computers, tablets and mobile phones, this website will act as a central gateway to information and resources tackle sectarianism in Scotland by providing tailored user access to four distinct target groups:

Children and Young people

Adults: parents, carers, community groups

AoS Network: teachers, youth workers, academics, policy officers, community activists

The Scotsman reported this week that Scottish young people

are witnessing hatred and offensive behaviour in Scotland. 

New research findings were issued by the Scottish Parliament justice committee. They surveyed 1400 young people between S1 and S6 across 50 secondary schools. The survey asked about their experience of offensive behaviour in society as a whole, online, and through football. 

Findings showed that 28% of young people have experience or witnessed “hatred” due to an individual’s race, sexuality, disability or religion.

Just under two-thirds also said they had come across offensive behaviour online.

Just over 25% of young people had seen “hatred” at football matches in Scotland.

Views on what the law should be on such matters were polarised. Just under 45% of young people felt there should be a law banning offensive songs at football matches whilst 41% felt there should be no law at all.

A spokesperson at the Scottish Government said:

“These findings about the impact of offensive behaviour on our younger people underline the importance of tackling the issue effectively. We want everyone, regardless of age, to be able to enjoy our national sport without experiencing abusive, threatening or offensive behaviour. That is why this government stands on the side of the many tens of thousands of football supporters who place supporting their club with family and friends in an atmosphere of friendly rivalry above the bile and bigotry that is all too commonplace.”

MSPs are currently hearing evidence on the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act.

Labour MSP James Kelly said: “This inadequate piece of legislation needs to be repealed, and laws which are effective in prosecuting online abuse strengthened. That is the way forward to protect children from online abuse.”

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