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 Act 4 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 ill-will 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.
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.