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Gay rights group calls for more anti-hate messages in schools

GAY rights groups have called for more teaching of anti-hate messages in schools after a same-sex couple were hounded from their home by children.

As The Herald revealed yesterday, lawyer Daniel Donaldson and his partner were tormented by 12-year-olds shouting "paedo" and "beast" at them and throwing bottles and bricks at their Edinburgh home.

The couple had tried and failed to obtain an non-harassment order against the youngsters - but have been denied access to their details by authorities because of laws protecting the confidentiality of child perpetrators.

However, Stonewall Scotland director Colin Macfarlane said he believed the incidents showed serious problems about equality education in schools, even after Section 28 - which banned the promotion of homosexuality in local authorities - was repealed.

Mr Macfarlane said: "Despite all evidence suggesting that young people are more tolerant and accepting of LGBT people than older generations, half of hate crime victims say the perpetrator was a stranger under the age of 25.

"What is worrying is that the young people involved in this incident were educated years after Section 28 was repealed and previous restrictions on discussing LGBT issues in schools were lifted.

"Yet we know teachers are still afraid to discuss LGBT issues and many do nothing when they hear homophobic language used in our classrooms and playgrounds.

"Changes to the law are not enough to protect people from being targeted just because they are seen to be different.

"We know that what we learn as children can last a lifetime.

"That's why Stonewall Scotland is working hard with our schools, our teachers and young people themselves to tackle these prejudicial attitudes."

Mr Donaldson and his partner are now leaving their home after failing to secure non-harassment orders.

Authorities, however, yesterday said it would be wrong of them to hand over details of the couple's tormentors, who have been charged and reported to the children's panel system, where they are given anonymity.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration said: "Our victim information service provides victims of youth crime with information to victims about what has happened to the referral to the Reporter of the child or young person responsible for committing the offence.

"However, the law protects the right of the child or young person to confidentiality and we are unable to give any personal information about the child or young person involved."

A Stonewall poll found one in six Scots LGBT people had been the victim of a hate crime over the last three years.

Contextual targeting label: 
Families

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