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Police Scotland are urging young people to “be greater than a hater” in response to a rise in online hate crimes last year to nearly 6,000.

They have launched a social media campaign and police officers are working with schools to raise awareness among young people.

A significant amount of online hate crimes involve bullying and in many instances people are creating fake accounts to carry this out.

Hate crime is defined as "any crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by malice or ill will towards a social group".

Perpetrators will target victims based on their presumed sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race and religion or belief. Race is the most commonly reported hate crime, however, there has been an increase in the number of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes reported.

Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald said: "Tackling hate crime is a priority for Police Scotland and we take reports of any such incidents very seriously.

"Young people may not realise that hate crime can have significant and long-lasting consequences for both victims and perpetrators. We are working with partners to inform young people in an effort to prevent these incidents. It is vital that people report any hate incidents to us. Everyone has the right to live in safety and without fear."

ACC MacDonald said: "We are aware that hate crime is often under-reported, however, Police Scotland is committed to reviewing and fully investigating all reports of hate. I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of hate crime in any form, to come forward and report it to the police by calling 101 or 999 if it is an emergency."

Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing said: "There is absolutely no place for any kind of prejudice in Scotland. This campaign will not only encourage and empower young people to recognise hate crime and report it, but also to see the long-lasting impact that such appalling acts can have on victims."

For the full article see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-43436900

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