In December 2011 we launched the following 13 Point Action Plan to tackle Sectarianism in Scotland and we will be campaigning to take it forward during 2012…
1. The Scottish Government, local authorities and all public sector bodies to adopt a dedicated anti-sectarianism policy and make it publicly available on their websites.
2. Every member of Scottish Government staff to undertake sectarianism awareness training by 2015 so they may be equipped with the skills and awareness to challenge bigotry.
3. To develop a strategy with trade unions and employers in the private sector to promote policies and initiatives to challenge sectarian behaviour and discrimination in the workplace and make employees aware of relevant legislation.
4. Every successful bidder for Government contracts or public funding in the private and voluntary sectors to adopt an anti-sectarianism policy within management policy and include sectarian awareness training for staff and volunteers.
5. A nationwide publicity campaign to raise awareness of the damage caused by sectarianism, highlighting the consequences of bigoted attitudes and behaviour. Part of this campaign should focus on sectarianism in sport and the enforcement of any legislation relating to the issue.
6. To strongly promote the use of football as a vehicle for challenging religious bigotry and work with football clubs, governing bodies and supporters to establish and develop a sustained and positive publicity campaign to challenge sectarianism in our national sport. Consideration to be given to establishing an autonomous body to combat sectarian behaviour in Scottish football with responsibility for administering sanctions that require all clubs to take responsibility for operating and demonstrating. Funds to be made available to supporters’ trusts to create their own anti-sectarianism initiatives.
7. The creation of a nationwide fund to support grassroots anti-sectarianism projects right across Scotland and promote best practice. Applications should be considered by a board chaired by a Minister which would also include representatives from organisations with a track record of anti-sectarian work.
8. Anti Sectarianism initiatives to become firmly embedded in the education curriculum with the aim that, by 2015, every child in Scotland is equipped with a clear awareness and understanding of the issue. To this end, emphasis should be placed on school ‘twinning’ projects, mainstreaming best practice and appropriate support and resources made available for pupils and teachers. Units on the causes and consequences of sectarianism to be incorporated into the curriculum of the proposed Scottish Studies subject.
9. A commitment from Government that the Scottish Futures Trust will engage fully with all 32 local authorities regarding the possibility of building more shared campuses across Scotland.
10. A commitment that every law enforcement officer in Scotland receives dedicated sectarianism awareness training and standardised advice on any current or future legislation.
11. Production of detailed annual reports on religiously-aggravated crimes and introduction of a nationwide programme of rehabilitation for all offenders convicted of sectarian offences similar to the work currently being undertaken by the Iona Community.
12. Explore new ways of reinforcing anti-sectarian messages to young people outside of the classroom including through youth divisionary projects. Anti-sectarianism workshops should be provided, wherever possible, as part of ’Cashback for Communities’ programmes.
13. Given the growing evidence of sharp rise in the rates of domestic abuse and anecdotal evidence of an increase in child injuries during ‘old firm’ weekends Government to commission independent research into this issue and provide additional resources to refuge, advice and counselling services during these periods.