Assault, spitting and verbal abuse can escalate into “unspeakable horrors” of hate if not challenged, experts have warned.

Kids from secondary schools in Glasgow are to be given a talk by forensic expert Robert McNeil MBE of the Remembering Srebrenica (Scotland) charity as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week.

During the event, the second to take place in the city, Mr McNeil is to warn kids that “everyday hate crime” can escalate into something much worse if society does not stand up to it.

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He will explain that prejudice is the first step on the ladder, and atrocities such as the Srebrenica genocide show what can happen if hate crime is not challenged.

Authorities in Glasgow have a zero tolerance approach to hate crime, and try to encourage victims to report any form of abuse.

This could be prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

Glasgow Times: Bailie Fariha Thomas

Despite efforts by the council and police, experts still believe crimes are being under reported.

A network of more than 60 third party reporting centres, including housing associations, transport hubs, and local organisations, has been set up as safe places to encourage more victims to come forward.

Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty, Divisional Commander, Greater Glasgow police said: “Targeting someone because of who they are is unacceptable and can have devastating effects. Police Scotland encourages anyone who has been the victim of, or has witnessed, hate crime to report it either directly to police or at one of our third party reporting centres. Don’t stay silent about hate crime.”

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Councillor Fariha Thomas, who chairs Glasgow’s hate crime working group, is to open the event today.

She said: “Only by speaking out about Hate Crime, can victim’s regain their confidence and self belief. By doing so, they can also help ensure it does not happen to others and show perpetrators that it has no place in Glasgow or elsewhere.”