Scotland’s leading anti-sectarianism charity has reiterated its call for a nationwide rehabilitation scheme for people convicted of bigoted behaviour.

Nil By Mouth made the call following the publication of new figures about sectarian offences in Scotland. The key findings show:

  • 762 people charged with religiously aggravated offences during 2012/13 (down from 901 in 2011/12)
  • 50% of those charged under the age of 30
  • 40% of those convicted receive only a financial penalty

Nil By Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:

“It’s pleasing to see a reduction in the number of arrests from last year but the figures once again prove we still have someway to go to rid Scotland of this poison. Over the last decade there have been over 7,000 people charged with religious hate crimes and with under 30s accounting for 50% of the total number of offences this has to be the generation on which we focus our efforts.

“40% of those convicted received a financial penalty rather than custodial sentences so to ensure they are made to properly reflect on their actions and attitudes we want a mandatory rehabilitation programme put in place for anyone convicted of sectarian offences.”