Hear from two of the young people who have participated in Sacro's Anti-Sectarianism Service, a Diversion from Prosecution Programme, suitability for which is decided by the Procurator Fiscal and/or Early Effective Intervention Team.

Sacro has been provided funding through the Scottish Government to Tackle Intra-Christian Sectarianism which is dominant throughout Scotland. This is a pilot scheme will work with individuals from the age of 12 years who have been charged with committing a sectarian offence, across the central belt of Scotland to tackle intra-sectarianism attitudes and behaviour.

The programme is based around six modules which can be completed within a group environment or on a one-to-one basis.  The structured programme will be based on behavioural and attitudinal change, using Cognitive Behavioural Intervention techniques.  The sessions will support the individual to   understand why they behave in a specific way and take ownership of their attitude and behaviours to ensure positive changes so as not to repeat the crime. Sacro have a commissioned programme which has been written by Tim Chapman to support this work.

What follows are accounts from two of the young people who have participated in the programme already:

‘I went to a Rangers game and was sitting in a section where there was singing going on. I started singing along with it, without realising what I was really saying. When the game ended we walked out and saw my friends stopped by the Police.  So I walked over and then the Police arrested me! On the charge of offensive behaviour at football and threatening communications act. Then I got involved with Sacro on the diversion programme so I wouldn’t have a record. It’s helped me realise what I done and what I can do next time to avoid it!’

‘It all started by going to a Rangers game with a group of friends. We were at the game and all the fans began to sing a song called “build my gallows”. We were later arrested and convicted of sectarian singing. We were given the option of diversion from prosecution which was Sacro. The anti-Sectarian programme has helped me realise how bad the song was. Sacro helped me realise the consequences of my offence. Sacro is a very good programme to teach young people the effects of sectarianism.’