A LAWYER subjected to concerted abuse for being gay has claimed he cannot act against his tormentors because they are children.
Daniel Donaldson said he had been called a "paedo" and "beast" by youngsters while his north Edinburgh home had been bombarded with bricks and bottles during the summer.
The 34-year-old praised local police for making sure the abusers, mostly aged 12, were charged and put before the Children's Panel.
But, frustrated by the pace of youth justice, he tried to take out an interdict and non-harassment orders against the minors. He failed because authorities would not provide details of the perpetrators.
Mr Donaldson said: "My partner and I are now looking to relocate away from Edinburgh. We have had enough. I hope that when we move, we get to enjoy the peace and quiet in our own home, and the freedom from abuse, harassment and vandalism that we should expect.
"I have been branded a 'paedo' and a 'beast' in front of my own home. Our car windscreen has been smashed in. Stones, bricks and other missiles have all been thrown at our home, our property is subject to regular trespass and children will even come as far as the front door to bang and shout abuse. What is more disturbing is that the children even solicited the support of wayward adults to assist in their campaign of terror, shouting 'beast, beast, beast' at me and my home.
"The children concerned were charged and reported through the Children's Hearing System. I had hoped this would out an end to it. However, because they are under 16, they were free to continue the abuse, and to encourage others to abuse us too. They knew they would get away with it, which is why they continued, after being charged, reported and warned about their behaviour."
He said that he had attempted to obtain an interdict, "with power of arrest and non-harassment orders against our abusers".
But he added: "Even this route was blocked. In order to take this action, I would have required the co-operation of the local social work department and the police in order to obtain the identities of the perpetrators of the abuse. That co-operation was refused owing to 'child confidentiality'."
Mr Donaldson, a specialist in equalities law, believes that his right as a victim has been trumped by the rights of the child. "The hate crime laws are dud if they have no remedy against children," he said.
Local authorities can and do take action against the child perpetrators of hate crime. The Herald understands at least one family in north Edinburgh has been evicted after children committed similar offences.
However, Scottish councils have been reluctant to use anti-social behaviour orders as frequently as their colleagues in England after a period of such actions during the peak of Labour's "war on neds" a decade ago.
Mr Donaldson was seeking redress through a personal civil action - something he believes could have been routinely achieved had his tormentors been adults - rather than an Asbo.
Councillor Cammy Day, Edinburgh's Community Safety Leader, said: "Hate crime is completely unacceptable. The council treats all reports of hate crime extremely seriously, working with Police Scotland to investigate. We would urge anyone with concerns to get in touch with their neighbourhood office or Police Scotland as a matter of urgency."
Mr Donaldson said he had been in touch with his local community safety office and the social work department and was not satisfied with the response.